I applaud all of you for your strength during this time

06 May 2020 | From the Chancellor

Dear colleagues, students and members of the university community

I trust that you, your families and loved ones are coping under these difficult circumstances.

When I last communicated with you on 28 March, we were two days into the first stage of the COVID-19 lockdown, with little idea of what was to come or how long we would be in isolation; our families, work and studies disrupted in a way none of us could have imagined.

While I am grateful that the number of infections at UCT have remained low, I know that the situation in our communities and homes can change quickly as the virus infections begin to peak.

I am thinking of you all and standing by you at this time. I want to voice my support and gratitude by way of this letter.

Like institutions across the globe, UCT is facing a highly complex and evolving situation. I applaud the UCT executive and the Leadership Lekgotla of deans and executive directors, headed by Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng who lead and manage this institution, a community of 34 000 staff and students, with courage, dignity and compassion.

I applaud our academic staff, for their dedication and resilience, which I know has been experienced by all our students in the form of the many remote teaching innovations you had to create and launch at very short notice. I also applaud those UCT researchers who are a part of the collective drive to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. I am most grateful for what each of you is contributing to this fight.

I applaud our professional, administrative and service staff for their work to keep the university’s systems operational under trying circumstances. Thank you also to our alumni who so generously support us. Your continued support is invaluable to keeping our institution operational.

We do not know when the stages of lockdown will end. Indications are that COVID-19 will be with us until a viable vaccine has been found and that we know from the scientific community and media reports, is many months down the line.

I am very aware of the difficulties students face in adapting to new ways of being taught and learning, especially when your environment is not ideal. Again, may I urge you to stand together. Look after one another, practise self-care, reach out to those who are struggling, and take one day at a time. Do your best every day, and in the end you will look back and be rewarded for your resilience and strength shown during this time.

I am also mindful of the leadership, past and present, that we are able to draw on at this time. We look to leaders such as Ma Sisulu, Albertina, one of the great mothers of our Nation, whose story and legacy can guide and inspire us now.

Pandemic was a word well known to her. Ma Sisulu was born into a global pandemic. It was 1918, the year the Spanish flu swept the globe; killing 50 million people worldwide and 30 000 alone in the Transkei, her birthplace.

The flu, or ‘umbathalala,’ was especially dangerous for pregnant women and babies. But Ma Sisulu survived. With her unfaltering spirit, she became one of the great inspirations of our nation, steadfast in her leadership and beliefs in the face of apartheid.

Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu said of Ma Sisulu, “…try as they might, they could not break her spirit, they could not defeat her love.” At the height of the struggle in the 1980s, she called on communities to “stand up and protect each other”.

We must stand up and protect one another, too, with strength and compassion. Seek help when you need it. If you are battling with the stress of lockdown, please make use of the services that are available to UCT staff and students, even if you are far from campus.

May I urge you to also visit the Coronavirus Disease 2019 page on the UCT website regularly for more information and updates.

This too shall pass. The pandemic will not last forever. But our lives will never be the same again. It will take all of us to bring this pandemic to heel and then to begin dealing humanely with its impact on our society, and our UCT community. In the months ahead, we’ll be called on to start reimagining our nation. I believe we will do so with new insight, energy and empathy.

Once again, I am thinking of you and standing with you in the knowledge that our collective responses will make us stronger together.


Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe
UCT Chancellor

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Coronavirus Disease 2019 updates

COVID-19 is a global pandemic that caused President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a national disaster in South Africa on 15 March and 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.

Campus updates

  •  Information
  •  Normal
  •  Caution
  •  Alert

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

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News and opinions

Statements and media releases

Media releases

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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.