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The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in South Africa continues on the rise, presently at 202, with infections reported at some higher education institutions.

We find ourselves in a highly volatile situation and need to exercise the agility necessary to navigate this space. While University operations need to continue, it is clear that it cannot be business as usual.

As such, Nelson Mandela University has been moving towards scaling down the number of people physically on campus, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

We have gone into early Recess, in line with the sector guidelines, and requested that students vacate on- and accredited off-campus residences as part of our containment efforts.

For staff, Line Managers have been requested to determine critical on-site services that are needed to maintain University operations during this unpredictable period. Managers are also to determine rotational schedules where necessary.

The University is therefore working to ensure that staff work remotely as much as possible from next week, 23 March 2020.

There are registers currently being circulated to determine staff’s ability to work remotely. This will enable a determination of what support is required to ensure critical and other services continue through remote working. Specifics in this regard will be communicated to staff through their Line Managers.

In his address to the nation on Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “Never before in the history of our democracy has our country been confronted with such a severe situation.”

We are therefore in unprecedented times. There is great uncertainty about what will happen as we collectively grapple with the COVID-19 global pandemic. We will ensure ongoing communication with the University in this regard, as we continue monitoring this rather fluid situation.

I thank the University community in its entirety for working with the Management team at this difficult and uncertain time.


Prof Sibongile Muthwa

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777