Undergraduate studying in 2021 and other updates

17 February 2021 | Campus Announcement

Dear colleagues and students

This campus announcement aims to keep the UCT community updated on recent developments on campus.

1. Remembering former VC, Dr Stuart Saunders

Former UCT Vice-Chancellor, Dr Stuart Saunders, passed away on 12 February 2021 after a short illness. Dr Saunders led UCT, for the most part, during the darkest days of apartheid. During that period, he played a leading role in driving the university’s policy to provide education of international excellence and to be a leading research university.

2. Further details on undergraduate studying in 2021

As already communicated, UCT has elected to pursue teaching and learning in 2021 in terms of a ‘physically distanced, low-density campus’ approach. This is to mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19 during the second wave, and in preparation for a possible third wave.

Please take note that different courses have different attendance requirements and approaches to learning. Students need to consult faculty web pages and contact relevant course convenors.

3. Student 2020 debt appeals and financial assistance for 2021

The provision of financial assistance to eligible students at undergraduate and postgraduate level is one of the key priorities of UCT.

There is no doubt that 2020 had an impact on all students and their families due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The university was also impacted in terms of its operations and responsibilities. The budget approved by the UCT Council for 2020 had to be substantially reduced, impacted by students vacating residences, and those given additional time to drop courses where they had challenges with managing online learning. Despite these financial and related pressures, UCT has made available limited funding to provide some financial assistance to students who still have outstanding fees for the 2020 academic year and who are at risk of being unable to continue with their studies in 2021.

4. New Sexual Misconduct Policy approved

The finalisation of the new Disciplinary Procedures for Sexual Misconduct is a major development with regards to UCT’s response to sexual offences. The policy is aimed at achieving the objectives of the new Sexual Misconduct Policy, especially around the alignment of a survivor-centred process. The policy replaces the current UCT Sexual Offences policy and the Sexual Harassment policy. The university is committed to creating an environment in which the dignity of all staff members and students is respected. All complaints of sexual offences and/or sexual harassment are taken seriously and in confidence. An appropriate response to unacceptable behaviour and related actions will remain a leadership priority.

5. Opportunities for lecturer development in a national initiative

Professors, associate professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, and junior lecturers are invited to apply for the Higher Education Leadership and Management University Lecturer Development Programme. Universities South Africa is inviting applications from academics to take part in this programme.

6. New implementation date for UCT’S revised Employment Equity Policy

UCT has made the decision to delay the implementation of the revised Employment Equity Policy to 1 March 2021, in order to ensure sufficient preparation time for the university community and administrative staff. The executive has no wish to unduly delay the introduction of this revised policy, which was approved by Council and scheduled for implementation on 1 February 2021. The belief is that it is prudent to designate the rest of the month as a transition period, to give all faculties and departments the chance to become fully acquainted with its provisions.

7. Update on COVID-19 cases

As at 15 February, the university has 336 reported cases of COVID-19 among non-health sciences staff members, with 290 recoveries. The number of students who have tested positive stands at 100. The university has lost 19 staff members and two students to the virus.

Please be reminded that updates on COVID-19 cases within the university community are now shared every second week. Updates will be included as part of the campus announcement issued immediately after the first and the 15th of every month.


Communication and Marketing Department

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UCT’s response to COVID-19 in 2021

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.

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


Daily updates

Friday, 5 February 14:20, 5 February 2021
Monday, 4 January 16:50, 4 January 2021
Friday, 18 December 11:30, 18 December 2020
Thursday, 19 November 09:30, 19 November 2020
Friday, 13 November 12:40, 13 November 2020
Friday, 16 October 10:05, 16 October 2020
Wednesday, 14 October 12:50, 14 October 2020
Tuesday, 22 September 14:10, 22 September 2020
Friday, 11 September 10:05, 11 September 2020
Monday, 31 August 12:20, 31 August 2020
Wednesday, 12 August 10:20, 12 August 2020
Friday, 7 August 11:24, 7 August 2020
Thursday, 6 August 18:26, 6 August 2020
Monday, 27 July 14:00, 27 July 2020
Wednesday, 15 July 09:30, 15 July 2020
Monday, 13 July 14:25, 13 July 2020
Monday, 6 July 16:20, 6 July 2020
Thursday, 25 June 10:15, 25 June 2020
Tuesday, 23 June 12:30, 23 June 2020
Thursday, 18 June 17:35, 18 June 2020
Wednesday, 17 June 10:45, 17 June 2020
Tuesday, 2 June 12:20, 2 June 2020
Friday, 29 May 09:25, 29 May 2020
Monday, 25 May 14:00, 25 May 2020
Thursday, 21 May 12:00, 21 May 2020
Wednesday, 6 May 10:00, 6 May 2020
Tuesday, 5 May 17:05, 5 May 2020
Thursday, 30 April 17:10, 30 April 2020
Tuesday, 28 April 10:30, 28 April 2020
Friday, 24 April 09:35, 24 April 2020
Thursday, 23 April 17:00, 23 April 2020
Wednesday, 22 April 14:25, 22 April 2020
Monday, 20 April 17:45, 20 April 2020
Friday, 17 April 12:30, 17 April 2020
Thursday, 16 April 09:45, 16 April 2020
Tuesday, 14 April 11:30, 14 April 2020
Thursday, 9 April 09:00, 9 April 2020
Wednesday, 8 April 15:40, 8 April 2020
Wednesday, 1 April 15:50, 1 April 2020
Friday, 27 March 11:40, 27 March 2020
Thursday, 26 March 18:30, 26 March 2020
Tuesday, 24 March 15:40, 24 March 2020
Monday, 23 March 15:40, 23 March 2020
Friday, 20 March 16:00, 20 March 2020
Thursday, 19 March 09:15, 19 March 2020
Wednesday, 18 March 16:00, 18 March 2020
Tuesday, 17 March 12:50, 17 March 2020
Monday, 16 March 17:15, 16 March 2020

Campus communications



New SRC and other updates 16:44, 4 November 2020
Virtual graduation ceremonies 13:30, 21 October 2020
Online staff assembly and other updates 15:09, 30 September 2020
Fee adjustments and other updates 15:21, 16 September 2020
Call for proposals: TLC2020 10:15, 26 August 2020
SAULM survey and other updates 15:30, 5 August 2020
COVID-19 cases and other updates 15:26, 5 August 2020
New UCT Council and other updates 15:12, 15 July 2020
Upcoming UCT virtual events 09:30, 15 July 2020
Pre-paid data for UCT students 14:25, 22 April 2020
Update for postgraduate students 12:55, 20 April 2020
UCT Human Resources and COVID-19 16:05, 19 March 2020
UCT confirms second COVID-19 case 09:15, 19 March 2020
Update on UCT COVID-19 response 13:50, 11 March 2020
Update on COVID-19 17:37, 6 March 2020


Video messages from the Department of Medicine

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.

Useful information from UCT

External resources

News and opinions

Statements and media releases

Media releases

Read more  

Statements from Government


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.