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As South Africa goes into a national lockdown from today, as part of government’s efforts to flatten the curve and contain the virus, the country woke up to news that it has also registered the first two fatalities as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

There has been a rapid increase in the rate of infections in the country, with more than 1 000 confirmed cases registered to date nationally. The daily increase of infections has contributed to the increased anxiety among South Africans, some of whom are heeding the call to stay at home during the lockdown. Subsequently, those deemed essential and critical services by the State and individual organisations, continue going to their workplaces, with the necessary permission documentation.

In the Western Cape, where two deaths were recorded, one at a private and another at a public healthcare facility, there are 229 confirmed COVID-19 cases, while five infections have been confirmed in the Eastern Cape, as at 26 March 2020.

As Nelson Mandela University, we remain committed to doing our utmost in support of government’s efforts to curb the spread of the virus. We are resolute in complying with the national lockdown regulations by ensuring that critical on-site services are the only ones still operating on campus.


Our skeleton staff, who are part of those deemed critical on-site services, include some student support, security and cleaning services, required during this period as part of preparations for the eventual resumption of University operations. All those falling into these categories have received the requisite permit letters.

The University has employed the necessary precautionary measures towards the safety of staff required to carry out their duties on campus, while others work remotely. We are aware of challenges faced with regards to data, and plans are being developed to support those staff and enable their continued work from home. An update and guidelines on this will be shared, through the respective Line Managers.

Students and Residences:

While most students have left town, a number of international students remain; as they are unable to return to their home countries at present for various reasons.

These students are receiving the necessary support from the University during the lockdown period and have been advised on ways to be self-sufficient and take it upon themselves to assist in ensuring good hygiene practices at the respective residences.

Deep Cleaning:

Deep cleaning continues where and when possible across all campuses, with spaces being locked down as cleaning is completed. This is inclusive of residences. The reduced numbers of staff and students on campus have greatly assisted in this regard.

At residences, the remaining students have been equipped with cleaning packs, so as to maintain cleanliness and hygiene in the space they occupy.

Staff and Student Wellness

As the number of infections rise, so do the uncertainties and people’s anxieties about the virus. It is therefore vitally important that as we play our part in fighting the spread of the coronavirus, we take care of ourselves by amongst others, tapping into the support mechanisms available.

To this end, the University has availed and communicated the suite of psychosocial support mechanisms to help our staff and students, get through this uncertain time.

Staff and students are encouraged to access and share credible, verified information only from reputable web sources, such as the dedicated national coronavirus website, for national updates. The support measures available to staff and students are all available on the University’s dedicated coronavirus webpage.

No New Academic Activities

Students should note that there are no new academic activities presently taking place, and that updates in this regard will be communicated as and when they become available. As a way of occupying time during this lockdown, students are encouraged to spend time revising the work of the first term, in order to keep abreast of their studies, where possible.


The increased infection figures show how critical it is to ensure that we play our part as citizens in fighting the spread of the coronavirus. Staff and students should please stay at home, as per government’s directive.

We wish to once again thank academic and support staff, who continue their work during this time, for ensuring the critical services needing to safeguard the academic project, are ongoing in preparation for when academic activities and all operations resume.

Communication and Marketing

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777