Pre-paid data for UCT students

22 April 2020 | From Kgethi

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 or and Vodacom has zero rated UCT News (reachable at and and UCT open access journals (reachable at and

It is important to note that even though authentication itself, via, 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 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

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UCT’s response to COVID-19

COVID-19 is a global pandemic that caused President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a national disaster in South Africa on 15 March 2020 and to implement a national lockdown from 26 March 2020. UCT is taking the threat of infection in our university community extremely seriously, and this page will be updated with the latest COVID-19 information. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.

Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, has in June 2022 repealed some of South Africa’s remaining COVID-19 regulations: namely, sections 16A, 16B and 16C of the Regulations Relating to the Surveillance and the Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions under the National Health Act. We are now no longer required to wear masks or limit gatherings. Venue restrictions and checks for travellers coming into South Africa have now also been removed.

In July 2022, the University of Cape Town (UCT) revised its approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic on UCT campuses in 2022.
Read the latest document available on the UCT policies web page.


Campus communications


Adjusting to our new environment 16:50, 23 June 2022
VC Open Lecture and other updates 17:04, 13 April 2022
Feedback from UCT Council meeting of 12 March 2022 09:45, 18 March 2022
Chair of Council
March 2022 graduation celebration 16:45, 8 March 2022
Report on the meeting of UCT Council of 21 February 2022 19:30, 21 February 2022
Chair of Council
COVID-19 management 2022 11:55, 14 February 2022
Return to campus arrangements 2022 11:15, 4 February 2022

UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre

On Wednesday, 20 July, staff from the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Faculty of Health Sciences came together with representatives from the Western Cape Government at the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre at Forest Hill Residence to acknowledge the centre’s significance in the fight against COVID-19 and to thank its staff for their contributions. The centre opened on 1 September 2021 with the aim of providing quality vaccination services to UCT staff, students and the nearby communities, as well as to create an opportunity for medical students from the Faculty of Health Sciences to gain practical public health skills. The vaccination centre ceased operations on Friday, 29 July 2022.

With the closure of the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, if you still require access to a COVID-19 vaccination site please visit the CovidComms SA website to find an alternative.


“After almost a year of operation, the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, located at the Forest Hill residence complex in Mowbray, will close on Friday, 29 July 2022. I am extremely grateful and proud of all staff, students and everyone involved in this important project.”
– Vice-Chancellor Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

With the closure of the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, if you still require access to a COVID-19 vaccination site please visit the CovidComms SA website to find an alternative.

Thank You UCT Community

Frequently asked questions


Global Citizen Asks: Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe & Effective?

UCT’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) collaborated with Global Citizen, speaking to trusted experts to dispel vaccine misinformation.

If you have further questions about the COVID-19 vaccine check out the FAQ produced by the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation (DTHF). The DTHF has developed a dedicated chat function where you can ask your vaccine-related questions on the bottom right hand corner of the website.

IDM YouTube channel | IDM website


“As a contact university, we look forward to readjusting our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in 2023 as the COVID-19 regulations have been repealed.”
– Prof Harsha Kathard, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning

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.