On behalf of the UCT executive, I would like to thank all the staff members who joined us for the special online assembly yesterday morning. I was delighted to hear that over 3 000 of you participated in the session. I would also like to thank my fellow executive members for providing updates from their various portfolios.
If you were unable to join the online event, you can view or download the recordings (which are zero-rated, excluding MTN users):
Staff members were understandably engaged with the discussions, asking pertinent human resource-related questions, raising queries about support for staff during this unusual period, and enquiring about the financial implications of the coronavirus lockdown.
I trust that the executive and I managed to allay any fears and respond adequately to any concerns that you may have had. As I mentioned in my presentation, while finances are a challenge in all sectors and industries, both in our country and globally, the executive has committed to keep paying the salaries of current staff in 2020 whether they work remotely or on campus.
The coronavirus pandemic has provided an opportunity for us as an institution to see how we can work differently. While it has become clear that we can still be productive without being in a physical work or office space, it has also become evident that certain work is incredibly difficult to do off site. Beyond COVID-19, and that time will come, we need to ask ourselves what role remote working will play in our lives. We continue working hard on planning a phased return to campus, and those required to return to campus will, of course, have to adhere to strict social distancing and related regulations.
We fully recognise the complexities that you have been dealing with during this time, so I appeal to you to care for one another, and for all of you to practice empathy and understanding when engaging with each other.
I also encourage all of you who are able, to give to the COVID-19 UCT Emergency Fund, no matter how small the amount. Every little bit counts.
Thank you again for joining the assembly yesterday. We would really appreciate hearing back from you, so please take the time to complete a short survey on the session.
I hope that you will take part in similar online meetings in the future – it’s essential to keep lines of communication open during these uncertain times.
Please continue to stay safe, wear your masks when out in public and take time to rest.
Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng
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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. This was followed by the implementation of a national lockdown, which has been in effect since midnight on 26 March and has recently been extended to 30 April. The intention of this drastic measure is to “flatten the curve” and contain the spread of the coronavirus to enable healthcare workers to more effectively treat those affected.
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.