Staff engagement on COVID-19 and other updates

29 June 2022

Dear colleagues

Staff are invited to an engagement with the UCT leadership about how the university will manage on-campus operations following the repeal of COVID-19 regulations. Read more on this and other updates below.

1. Staff engagement on repealed COVID-19 regulations

South Africa repealed COVID-19 regulations that made masks mandatory in indoor public spaces, limited the size of gatherings and imposed entry requirements at its borders, as announced by Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla on 23 June 2022.

Given these developments, the university understands that many staff may have questions regarding any implications for on-campus operations because COVID-19 has not been eradicated. A staff engagement session has been arranged to discuss and answer these.

Staff are invited to join the Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, Professor Ntobeko Ntusi, head of the Department of Medicine, and Dr Reno Morar, Chair of the UCT COVID-19 Co-ordinating Committee, at an information session on Friday, 1 July 2022 from 10:30 to 12:00 on MS Teams, where they will provide an update and endeavour to respond to questions and concerns.


2. Impact of loadshedding on UCT operations

Loadshedding has been continuing this week. This will regrettably have an impact on university operations. It is advisable for staff and students to regularly check loadshedding schedules in their zones, whether on campus or elsewhere for those working or studying remotely, to minimise the impact of loadshedding.

Currently, when there is power outage on campus, venues are either powered using generators or UPS systems. However, some venues do not have backup power. To maintain uninterrupted services, Properties and Services (P&S) are working towards ensuring all venues have power during outages. This is a long-term project and until it can be ensured that all venues have backup power, P&S has put together some measures to enable faculties to book venues with backup power or reschedule classes in accordance with the loadshedding schedule.


3. Deadline of 30 June 2022 for declaration of interests

All UCT staff members and members of university committees must make a full annual declaration of their financial interests and fiduciary roles and those of their immediate family members. The deadline is 30 June 2022.

This is a requirement of the Higher Education Act and applies to all staff members irrespective of their roles or positions. The process for declaration of interest is a critical part of the university’s governance, risk and compliance management system.


4. Rugby Road/Madiba East temporary closure due to maintenance work

Please be advised that the Maintenance Department needs to carry out emergency repairs on the water supply valves in Rugby Road/Madiba East on Upper Campus.

Unfortunately, this has resulted in the need to close the road temporarily to make sure that students and staff as well as motor vehicles are safe. The road will therefore be closed on 29 July 2022 and re-open on 6 July. Any inconvenience caused while the road is closed due to this necessary work is regrettable. Kindly note that the UCT Shuttle will be redirected accordingly.

The Maintenance Department will work as quickly as possible to minimise the impact of the road closure.


5. Submission of proposals to IT Investment Committee

UCT is reconvening the Information Technology Investment and Prioritisation Committee (ITIPC). It is a sub-committee of the university’s IT governance committee – the University ICT Committee.

The ITIPC did not convene in 2020 and 2021, following a decision taken by the University Finance Committee to temporarily limit capital investments due to the need to re-prioritise institutional expenditure owing to the financial impact of COVID-19.


6. Postgraduate studies planning for 2022/2023

Now is a good time to take stock of your progress in your postgraduate studies and to plan for the next stage. You may be getting ready to submit your final report, dissertation or thesis; or you may be making sure that you have appropriate support in place to complete your studies in good time.

There are some guidelines to assist you in submitting your thesis or dissertation, and in accessing resources and funding your studies in 2023.


7. Public consultation on UCT’s spatial and infrastructure development framework

The first draft of the UCT Integrated Development Framework (IDF) was prepared during 2013/14 at the request of the national Department of Higher Education and Training which required the submission of a “University Campus Master Plan” as a guide to capital expenditure in the following five to 20 years.

The IDF is intended to assist the university in meeting its growth needs, in accordance with its mission, over the next several decades, and provides a framework to guide the growth of the university from approximately 29 000 to 32 000 undergraduate and postgraduate students on campus by 2030, for which approximately 51 000m² of new academic space is required.

An integrated public consultation process for the land use management and heritage components is being undertaken and includes press adverts, on-site notices, correspondence through registered mail and e-mail, with documents available for download on the City of Cape Town website and UCT’s website.


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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.

 

Campus communications

 
2022

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.

 

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