Student support services available through SWS

18 May 2022

Dear students

As the examinations are approaching, Student Wellness Service (SWS) reminds you of the available health support services.

When you feel stressed, talk to someone today. Don’t wait!

Students can download the SWS ICAS App to obtain confidential, independent and practical counselling support and advice in 11 languages at their fingertips 24/7/365.

UCT students can reach a counsellor immediately on the App without waiting for their booked appointment. The App can be used by students for immediate counselling and to reach out to a professional from wherever they are.

The SWS has 24-hour telephonic counselling services available, even during weekends and after hours.

Students can have immediate access to a counsellor through the SWS ICAS App or contact ICAS on 0800 87 26 76.

The SWS’s 24-hour telephonic counselling services are also available through:

  • UCT SADAG Careline: call 0800 24 25 26 or text 31393
  • Higher Health Counselling: call 0800 36 36 36
  • ER24 UCT collaboration line: call 010 205 3010

How to navigate the SWS booking platform

Students can book with a counsellor on the faculty tab to find a date and time suitable for them. The SWS clinic operates during business hours (08:30-16:30). However, should students require an urgent appointment, they should use the 24-hour telephonic counselling services for immediate access to a counsellor without waiting for an appointment.

Alternatively, students can report to the clinic at the Sports Centre, where they will be attended to by a psychiatric nurse on the same day without an appointment. Students may have to wait their turn at the service, depending on others who may be utilising this service at the time of their visit.

Please note that there is a tab for students to book their appointment for deferred examination applications.

Students can call and obtain nursing advice on the triage line on 021 650 5620 during business hours (08:30-16:30).

Regarding pharmacy services, students have to book the collection of repeat medication online. This service option is only available for students who have a valid prescription from a SWS clinician.

Other interesting activities to support your wellbeing at SWS:

  • Get involved in the Peer Mental Health support activities.
  • Join the RunWalk4Mental Health activity by contacting SWS or Mr Simosenkosi Tshambi.
  • Join a support group such as mindfulness. To find out more, contact SWS or Ms Carima Adams.

Students are reminded to reach out to SWS whenever they require support. Please see some of the FAQs below:

What services are offered by Student Wellness Service?

SWS is a comprehensive primary health care facility providing medical, counselling and social work services.

How do I make a medical appointment?

Book online.

How do I make a counselling / social work appointment?

Book online.

Who do I contact for psychiatric emergencies?

Find out more.

Who do I contact if distressed at any time?

Support is available through 24-hour telephonic services, 365 days a year.

  • SADAG UCT Students Careline: 0800 24 25 26 free from a Telkom line or SMS 31393 for a call-me-back.
  • ER24 UCT collaboration: 010 205 3010 tollfree.

Who do I contact if I require an ambulance?

Call Campus Protection Services (CPS) on 021 650 2222/3 (24-hour line).

Who do I contact if I have been sexually assaulted?

Contact CPS on 021 650 2222/3 (24-hour line) or the Office for Inclusivity & Change on 021 650 3530 or 072 393 7824.

COVID-19 support plan for students.

Read more.

Who do I contact if I have a COVID-19 related query?

  • Vaccine-related questions:
  • UCT COVID-19 line: 021 650 1271
  • National hotline: 080 002 9999
  • Provincial hotline: 021 928 4102

What happens if an SWS clinician confirms that I have COVID-19 symptoms or if I test positive for COVID-19?

Students will be provided with support and treatment after booking online for a medical consultation. Students should inform the SWS if they test positive and will be required to be in isolation for seven days.

What happens if I am in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19?

“Close contact” means one has had face-to-face contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 positive, within 1 m or in a closed space for more than 15 minutes without wearing a mask, and the room was not well ventilated. Contacts should monitor daily for symptoms but do not need to quarantine.

Should you develop symptoms, avoid social gatherings and wear your mask at all times. Please contact either the SWS triage nurse line on 021 650 5620, the UCT Students COVID-19 line on 021 650 1271 or the national hotline on 080 002 9999 for advice. If you have tested positive, you are required to isolate for seven days.

Remember to take care of your holistic health.

The pandemic is still around, and we always need to remain cautious and follow all public health protocols on and off campus for the health of ourselves and others.

Non-pharmaceutical preventative measures such as washing your hands regularly, wearing a mask correctly and avoiding crowded spaces are essential in preventing infections.

All students are encouraged to vaccinate against COVID-19, and to check the dates for their booster jab if they have already been vaccinated. Please contact 021 650 5620 or any SWS clinical practitioner for advice, questions and referrals to local vaccine sites. The UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre is located at the Forest Hill residence complex on the Main Road in Mowbray.

Most of all, please play your part in preventing the spread of the virus.

Please direct all enquiries to Mr Alan Florence.


Student Wellness Service

Read previous communications:

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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
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.