Impact of Council decisions on academic year

14 March 2021 | VC Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

Dear colleagues and students

I write to you following the UCT Council’s meeting held on Saturday, 13 March 2021 and particularly on important decisions made during this meeting. I also wish to share with you the agreements reached in post Council discussions with key stakeholders, including the Extended Executive Committee, which includes our deans.

At its meeting, Council took several key decisions, some of which may have a direct impact on the commencement of the academic year at UCT. All staff and students are urged to read the decisions carefully and to take responsibility for understanding how the decisions impact their particular circumstances.

Read the Council statement: Statement by the Council of the University of Cape Town

As communicated by the Chair of Council, Ms Babalwa Ngonyama, Council decided that the student registration fee-block in respect of 2020 debt will be lifted for specified categories of students, and the university will make every effort to support students in the process of servicing their debt – with R30 million made available for this purpose. We are taking these measures because we recognise the financial hardships many of our students find themselves in. We will continue to work with other universities to engage government, in order to address the challenges faced by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

In our engagements with the deans this afternoon, we were mindful of the fact that Council’s decisions might mean that some students will need to register this week. Whilst the academic year was meant to kick off tomorrow, we appreciate that Monday will probably be absorbed by registration for the students whose fee block has been lifted. The deans have agreed to do all they can to assist and will continue with the registration of returning students up until and including Friday, 19 March 2021.

All faculties have agreed to be as flexible as possible, and will take varying approaches, which will meet the needs of each faculty. In some faculties, for instance, it will be possible for registration to be concluded within just an extra day, while in others it might take longer depending on the number of students yet to register and any unforeseen technical hiccups that students might encounter. Be assured that our commitment remains to assist all students, to ensure their successful registration and to get them to start their academic year as soon as possible.

Our faculty-specific approaches may mean that in cases where teaching has already commenced, it will continue. Students can be assured that we will assist them if they missed classes due to late registrations. The underlying denominator in all our engagements was a commitment to ensuring that all students are brought fully onboard, are academically up to speed where necessary and are supported so as not to be left behind in the academic programme. I urge students to check with their faculties for their specific approaches.

I am grateful to all, for the willingness to find solutions and to be flexible in order to assist students.


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.