Report on the meeting of UCT Council of 21 February 2022

21 February 2022

Dear members of the UCT community

The University of Cape Town Council met earlier today, Monday, 21 February, to consider the difficult issue of unpaid fees that are preventing some students from re-registering for the new academic year. Student fee debt is a national problem. Earlier this month, the Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande reported that R16.5 billion was owed by students to public universities in South Africa. Cumulative fee debt at our university currently stands at R317.8 million. At the same time, we provide financial support every year to about 50% of our undergraduate students and about 35% of our postgraduate students. For the 2021 academic year, this financial support amounted to approximately R1.7 billion.

For some students – but not all – Council agreed to suspend the block on students re-registering for the 2021 academic year. This suspension was for one year only and, for the 2022 academic year, students with fee arrears of more than R10 000 have so far not been permitted to register, subject to appeal. However, we also know that there are students with fee debt higher than R10 000 who have the potential to complete their courses of study. The special meeting of Council was called to consider the plight of these students.

The outcomes of Council’s deliberations resulted in the following decision:

The provision of progressive financial assistance for students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels are important interventions that contribute to the current socio-economic challenges facing the country. Such assistance must be provided in ways that do not threaten the financial sustainability of the university.

Consequently, Council has made a number of resolutions in this regard.

  1. The current fee block on student registrations should be removed for the 2022 academic year for all students who are eligible to re-register on academic grounds. This concession will apply to students who are South African citizens, South African Permanent Residents, from SADC countries and from other countries in Africa. It will not apply to students registered for courses at the Graduate School of Business (GSB), or who are international students from continents other than Africa.
  2. The university executive will review current financial aid and fees policies, to develop proposals for reform that will align with Vision 2030 with the objective of ensuring that the allocation of financial assistance is aligned with demonstrable financial need. Proposals will be brought to Council for consideration in time for implementation for the 2023 academic year.
  3. The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) will be invited to take part in a joint working group with university management, to ensure that students who will benefit from the additional fee block concessions for 2022 can complete their registrations as rapidly as possible, so that their academic progress is not compromised.

We are confident that this additional support to our students will make a significant and material contribution to their ability to realise their potential at UCT.


Babalwa Ngonyama, CA (SA)
Chair of UCT Council

Read previous communications:

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.

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
UCT 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
UCT 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.