Dear colleagues and students
This campus announcement aims to inform the UCT community about recent developments on campus.
1. New UCT Council for the 2020/2024 term
The new university Council officially started its term on 1 July 2020 and will be in office until 30 June 2024. Ms Babalwa Ngonyama has been elected as the chair of Council, and Ms Nazeema Mohamed as deputy chair. This is the first time that both positions are simultaneously occupied by women.
2. Weekly COVID-19 update
The total number of positive COVID-19 cases within the UCT community stood at 84 as at 14 July 2020. This includes 64 non-health sciences staff members and 20 students, of which five are Faculty of Health Sciences students on clinical platforms. A reported 40 staff members have recovered (recoveries for students are not included as not all cases are managed by the Department of Student Affairs). Regretfully, six deaths have been reported – five staff and one student. UCT has reached out to all the staff and students who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. Chris Hani redevelopment project underway
The Chris Hani redevelopment project project (formerly New Science Lecture Theatre) has begun, with the site handed over to the construction company on Monday, 6 July 2020. The project is earmarked for completion at the end of October 2021. Construction will take place under challenging conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the contractor will ensure that all safety measures on site are in place.
For the physical safety of all staff, students and visitors to campus, all construction operations and activities will be carried out within the cordoned off area to limit the risk of injury. Students, staff and occupants of surrounding buildings who will be impacted by construction site operations will be timeously informed of any additional disruptive work. The contractor will endeavour to keep disruptions to a minimum.
4. Upcoming virtual events
UCT has a number of virtual events scheduled to take place over the next few weeks. These include annual events on the UCT calendar such as the Vice-Chancellor’s Open Lecture, the VC Inaugural Lecture series, the TB Davie Memorial Lecture and the Women’s Month commemoration event. It also includes events such as the #NewGlobalUni series and the Vision 2030 staff engagements.
5. Completing your academic courses during 2020
The university is aware that many students, through no fault of their own, are unable to complete their work as planned. General guidelines to deal with this situation have been shared – with specific reference to first semester work, clinical courses, courses in performing and creative arts, and engineering, first semester exams and deferred exams. Within the framework of these guidelines each faculty will communicate its specific arrangements to their students.
6. Ensuring sustained research excellence at UCT
The 2019 Report on Research to Senate and Council outlines the practical details of what UCT is doing to ensure that its research remains relevant, innovative and excellent, and outlines UCT’s research portfolio, including the research strategy and how it is being implemented. While it records the goals and successes, it also acknowledges areas of risk and targets that have not yet been reached.
7. UCT Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Study
In 2018 the UCT Leadership Lekgotla endorsed a project aimed at supporting the growth of entrepreneurship at the university – the UCT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Project. As a first step, the project steering committee commissioned a qualitative research study in 2019 to map UCT’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. A summary of the key findings of this report is now available. Having a good understanding of the ecosystem will allow the institution to better support its diverse entrepreneurship offerings to both students and staff.
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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.
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. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.
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.
As the COVID-19 crisis drags on and evolves, civil society groups are responding to growing and diversifying needs – just when access to resources is becoming more insecure, writes UCT’s Prof Ralph Hamann.03 Jul 2020 - 6 min read Republished
The Covid-19 crisis has reinforced the global consequences of fragmented, inadequate and inequitable healthcare systems and the damage caused by hesitant and poorly communicated responses.24 Jun 2020 - >10 min read Opinion
Our scientists must not practise in isolation, but be encouraged to be creative and increase our knowledge of the needs of developing economies, write Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, vice-chancellor of UCT, and Professor Thokozani Majozi from the University of the Witwatersrand.09 Jun 2020 - 6 min read Republished
South Africa has been recognised globally for its success in flattening the curve, which came as a result of President Ramaphosa responding quickly to the crisis, writes Prof Alan Hirsch.28 Apr 2020 - 6 min read Republished
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.