Dear colleagues and students
Since we were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic early this year, we have lost many lives to the virus. Thousands of people have passed on countrywide and, at the University of Cape Town (UCT), we have sadly lost nine staff members and one student. These are not just lives. These are family, friends, colleagues and close loved ones. At this point, almost eight months into the lockdown, it is possible that each one of us has lost a close one to the virus.
While COVID-19 continues to be a daily reality, another plague has been continuing in our communities. Many of our sisters, children, wives, partners, family and friends have continued to suffer through acts of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), with some having sadly lost their lives to these brutal acts.
These acts are unjustifiable and as a university we always have and will continue to condemn them in the strongest possible way. We will continue to do what we can to support survivors and encourage them to speak out against this SGBV scourge.
Following the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his address to the nation on Wednesday, 11 November, our flag at the Sarah Baartman Hall will fly at half-mast as we, along with the rest of the country, observe the five days of national mourning from 25 to 29 November 2020.
During this time, we will remember those who have lost their lives to COVID-19, sexual and gender-based violence or femicide. We will also signal our solidarity with the SGBV survivors. We stand with you.
Yours in solidarity
Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng
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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.
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.