Statement on early Autumn recess by Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, Vice-Chancellor & Principal, Mangosuthu University of Technology

18 March 2020

Press release statement: For immediate release

Submitted by:

Statement on early Autumn recess by Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, Vice-Chancellor & Principal, Mangosuthu University of Technology

Following the declaration of COVID-19 as a national disaster by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 15 March 2020 and the directive to institutions in the South African Post-school System by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande issued on 17 March 2020, the MUT Senate resolved to have an early Autumn recess as per the advice of its health care professionals and external experts in infectious diseases.

The decision was part of MUT’s efforts to take urgent appropriate actions in order to enable the moderation of exposure of students and staff to COVID-19. The University Senate resolved on 18 March 2020 as follows:

  1. The University will be on recess from 18 March 2020 to 15 April 2020. This means that the mid-term break is brought forward and academic activities will resume on 15 April 2020.
  2. All students are to vacate their residences within the next 72 hours. We are cognisant of the challenges this decision will pose for our students. Given the nature of the Coronavirus as communicated by experts, Management believes that this decision is in the best interest of the University and the students.
  3. All international students will be provided with University accredited accommodation that is consistent with the national and WHO directives for dealing with COVID-19. This decision is aimed at reducing movement across national boundaries to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on society.
  4. All staff are expected to work from home unless required to report for duty by line managers in consultation with HR Department and union representatives.
  5. To continue with essential operations, directives will be issued by line managers for skeleton staff to be available during this period.
  6. The 2020 graduation ceremonies have been postponed until further notice. Information will be communicated to graduands in due course.
  7. To reduce the heavy reliance on the contact mode of teaching, the University will strengthen the use of Blackboard, which is an online tool/software to enhance teaching and learning.

MUT and the country have never confronted a threat at this level. We again urge all members of the University to commit to the struggle against this pandemic, irrespective of where they are in the University hierarchy.

This challenge requires high levels of commitment and determination from all stakeholders.