Dear students and colleagues
As we continue with this important week of orientation into online learning at the University of Cape Town, (UCT), I am writing to inform you about the pre-paid data that is now available to all UCT students who have valid South African cell numbers (according to UCT records in PeopleSoft). Some of you may have seen information about this in the media but it is important for me to communicate the full details with you.
If you are a student and your South African mobile number is not recorded on UCT’s PeopleSoft system, please log on to PeopleSoft and provide your mobile number immediately.
Cell C, Telkom and Vodacom have now all agreed to zero rate access to certain UCT sites. We are still in negotiation with MTN and hope to finalise this implementation shortly. I want to again express appreciation, on behalf of UCT, to each of these companies for this important expression of support to UCT students as we embark on this period of online learning.
Zero rating will apply to the following UCT websites:
In addition, Telkom and Cell C have zero rated Open UCT (reachable at http://open.uct.ac.za or https://open.uct.ac.za) and Vodacom has zero rated UCT News (reachable at http://news.uct.ac.za and https://news.uct.ac.za) and UCT open access journals (reachable at http://journals.uct.ac.za and https://journals.uct.ac.za)
It is important to note that even though authentication itself, via adfs.uct.ac.za, is zero rated, should staff or students be authenticating to a site other than the ones listed above as zero rated (such as LinkedIn Learning, for instance) that site will incur data charges.
In addition to the zero rating agreements, UCT has purchased a data bundle for each student with a valid South African cell number. Each student will receive 30-40 gigabytes (GB) depending on their network provider, valid for 30 days, during the next week. These agreements were negotiated separately with each service provider and students have started receiving data bundles as from Monday, 21 April. The details are summarised below.
Cell C: 30GB for a month after it is provisioned: 10GB is available during the day, 20GB as part of Cell C’s Nite Data offering from 00:00 to 05:00.
MTN: 30GB for a month after it is provisioned: 10GB is available during the day, 20GB as part of MTN’s Night Express offering from 00:01 to 04:59.
Telkom: 40GB for a month after it is provisioned: 20GB is available during the day, 20GB as part of Telkom’s Night Surfer offering from 00:00 to 07:00.
Vodacom: 30GB for a month after it is provisioned: 10GB is available during the day, 20GB as part of Vodacom’s Night Owl offering from 00:00 to 05:00.
These pre-paid data bundles and the agreements for zero rated access to UCT websites are an important part of the effort UCT staff members are putting into the programme for online learning at UCT. On behalf of the university, I wish each student success with online learning.
We know that online learning may not be available to every UCT student. UCT is setting up an additional system to distribute printed learning materials and USB drives for students who cannot access the internet in any form. When it is safe to return to campus, students who were not able to study online, as well as other students who feel they have fallen behind in their studies, will be able to catch up through a programme of blended learning combined with face-to-face teaching.
Please contact your faculty advisor or department via Vula if you have any questions about online learning, receiving printed learning materials and USB drives, or other study needs during this time. For technical questions you can also contact the Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) Helpdesk by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 021 650 4500 during office hours.
I wish you continued health and safety during this difficult time.
With kind regards,
Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng
Read previous communications:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Please view the republishing articles page for more information.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a global pandemic that caused President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a national disaster in South Africa on 15 March and implement a national lockdown from 26 March. The intention of these drastic measures is to “flatten the curve” and contain the spread of the coronavirus to enable healthcare workers to more effectively treat those affected. Although South Africa has recently reached a peak of COVID-19 infections, the country is expecting a surge in positive cases in August.
UCT is taking the threat of infection in our university community extremely seriously, and this page will be updated regularly with the latest COVID-19 information.
Getting credible, evidence-based, accessible information and recommendations relating to COVID-19
The Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, are producing educational video material for use on digital platforms and in multiple languages. The information contained in these videos is authenticated and endorsed by the team of experts based in the Department of Medicine. Many of the recommendations are based on current best evidence and are aligned to provincial, national and international guidelines. For more information on UCT’s Department of Medicine, please visit the website.
To watch more videos like these, visit the Department of Medicine’s YouTube channel.
As the COVID-19 crisis drags on and evolves, civil society groups are responding to growing and diversifying needs – just when access to resources is becoming more insecure, writes UCT’s Prof Ralph Hamann.03 Jul 2020 - 6 min read Republished
The Covid-19 crisis has reinforced the global consequences of fragmented, inadequate and inequitable healthcare systems and the damage caused by hesitant and poorly communicated responses.24 Jun 2020 - >10 min read Opinion
Our scientists must not practise in isolation, but be encouraged to be creative and increase our knowledge of the needs of developing economies, write Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, vice-chancellor of UCT, and Professor Thokozani Majozi from the University of the Witwatersrand.09 Jun 2020 - 6 min read Republished
South Africa has been recognised globally for its success in flattening the curve, which came as a result of President Ramaphosa responding quickly to the crisis, writes Prof Alan Hirsch.28 Apr 2020 - 6 min read Republished
In an email to the UCT community, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said:
“COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, is a rapidly changing epidemic. [...] Information [...] will be updated as and when new information becomes available.”
We are continuing to monitor the situation and we will be updating the UCT community regularly – as and when there are further updates. If you are concerned or need more information, students can contact the Student Wellness Service on 021 650 5620 or 021 650 1271 (after hours), while staff can contact 021 650 5685.