COVID-19 cases and other updates

05 August 2020 | Campus Announcement

Dear colleagues

This campus announcement aims to inform the UCT community about recent developments on campus.

1. Update on COVID-19 cases

UCT has a total of 116 reported COVID-19 cases as at 4 August 2020. This includes 87 non-health sciences staff members, of which 63 have recovered. The reported number of student cases is 29, which includes eight Faculty of Health Sciences students on clinical platforms. UCT has not had any new cases of staff or student deaths since the last update. The university has unfortunately had 10 deaths due to COVID-19 – nine staff members and one student.

2. Distinguished Teacher Award recipients for 2019

Each year through the Distinguished Teacher Award (DTA), the university recognises excellent teaching and acknowledges the primary place of teaching and learning in the institution’s work. The DTA Committee chooses awardees from a large pool of eligible teachers whose portfolios, submitted in support of their nominations, attest to the distinctiveness of some of UCT’s teachers. The recipients this year are: Professor Andrew Argent, head of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health and the medical director of the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital; Dr Tessa Dowling, senior lecturer in African Languages; Associate Professor Amrita Pande, a sought-after supervisor in sociology; and Associate Professor Romy Parker from the Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine department.

3. UCT’s Women’s Day celebration event

Women’s Month is an important time to reflect and celebrate achievements of womnx at UCT. This year, amid the complexities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng will host a virtual Women’s Day event on Thursday, 13 August via Microsoft Teams. The programme will include Chancellor Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, who will present the keynote address, and chair of Council, Ms Babalwa Ngonyama, who will deliver a vote of thanks.

Recipients of the For Womxn By Womxn research grants – Professor Floretta Boonzaier, Professor Janet Hapgood and Dr Katye Altieri – will also provide an update on their research projects which range from shifting how we do research around gender-based violence, to contraception and HIV risk of women in sub-Saharan Africa, and building capacity in the field of oceanography. The research grants were launched two years ago by Professor Phakeng to focus on training postgraduates and postdoctoral fellows, with an emphasis on building capacity among black South African women and transgender researchers.

4. Socially Responsive Course Development Grants

Applications are invited for four socially responsive, engaged teaching and learning course development grants. The grants of R10,000 each are available to develop, design or revise a course that meets the criteria outlined in the application form. Applicants need to outline their motivations for their use of funds in the application. UCT’s Social Responsiveness Committee will oversee the grant application and selection process. There is an optional briefing session on Wednesday, 12 August 2020 at12:30-14:00 via a Teams Meeting, where the criteria for selecting successful applications will be discussed. Grantees are encouraged to attend. Final applications need to be submitted by Monday, 31 August 2020. No late applications will be accepted. Questions and queries must be sent to Prince Qwaka.

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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 regularly with the latest COVID-19 information. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.


Frequently asked questions


Commemorating a year of COVID-19

At midnight on 26 March 2020, South Africa went into the first nationwide hard lockdown. A year later, we remember those who have died and those who have been affected by COVID-19, as well as the pandemic’s effects across society and campus. We are especially grateful for the front-line health workers who have done so much for so many.

News and opinions

Campus communications



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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.