COVID-19 Memos

As COVID-19 cases drop and vaccination rates rise, more of us are being asked to return to work on campus. In anticipation of this, please see the following information aimed at making your transition back to campus.

As the proposed phased return-to-work on campus procedures are still being formalised, Faculty and Directorate line managers should continue to lead their teams in line with their division’s particular mandate and implement their respective return-to-work plans in support of operational needs. 

Nelson Mandela University continues its efforts in encouraging all staff and students to vaccinate for their own safety and the wellbeing of others and is now offering students the opportunity of being vaccinated at any of the institution’s student clinics on any week day from 1pm to 3pm.

As vaccination numbers rise and COVID-19 restrictions are downgraded, Nelson Mandela University is now actively preparing for a return to campus of increased numbers of staff and students.

Staff, students and members of the public are encouraged to come to the University’s Vaccination Centre on North Campus for follow-up doses and/or booster doses.


Staff, students and members of the public are reminded that the University’s Vaccination Centre on South Campus is open, including to those who now qualify for booster shots.

As COVID-19 transmission numbers surge across the country (22391 new cases were reported yesterday), and our University prepares to close for end-of-year recess, please take note of the following:

As 2021 draws to a close, and we prepare to go on leave and spend quality time with our loved ones, I wish to thank the leadership and staff of Nelson Mandela University for the tenacity and resilience displayed despite the challenges of the impact of  COVID-19.

The steep increase in national coronavirus infections due to the new Omicron variant moved closer to home this week with a sudden rise of cases among Mandela University students, resulting in the quarantining of one residence and one class.

With COVID-19 transmissions rapidly on the rise in Gauteng and news today of South Africa being placed back on the red list for travel to the United Kingdom because of the presence of a new variant here, you are strongly urged to be vigilant and take up the vaccination opportunity if you have not already done so.

Since 1 October, Nelson Mandela University has been administering the one-shot J&J vaccine to students.

As of today (28 October) Nelson Mandela University has vaccinated 4200 students across its various vaccination centres and residences.

In keeping with its mandate as an institution in the service of society, Nelson Mandela University is now also vaccinating the 12 to 17-year age group as part of the national vaccination rollout programme.

More than 53 percent of Nelson Mandela University staff have been vaccinated, according to figures gleaned from the national Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS).

Mandela University is playing its part to support the national Vooma Vaccination campaign to vaccinate up to 500 000 people this weekend because only by working together can we beat this pandemic.

Nelson Mandela University is taking the vaccine to the students.

Several initiatives are underway to listen to our students to understand their thinking in relation to the present generally poor response to the on-campus vaccination opportunity.

As the vaccination rollout for the over 18s is now well underway, you have until tomorrow to cast your vote.

The University is aware of a hoax message circulating via WhatsApp today insisting that a certain group of students be vaccinated on a particular day to be able to write a future test.

The University’s dedicated Student Vaccination Centre on North Campus and its sister site on George Campus are expected to become increasingly busy once students returning for the second semester have completed their ten-day compulsory quarantine periods.

Everyone who has had their first Pfizer vaccination shot will receive a text message from the Department of Health notifying you of the date for your follow-up shot at public vaccination site close to you.

All Mandela University students are encouraged to register for their COVID-19 vaccination as registration on the Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS) for the 18 to 34-year group opened last night.

With the COVID-19 vaccination opportunity imminent for those aged 18 to 34, we are asking all students to complete the University’s vaccination poll on the Student Portal

All staff and students are required to share their vaccination information with Nelson Mandela University in line with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

To get a better and more up-to-date understanding of the level of support for COVID-19 vaccinations at Nelson Mandela University, all students are encouraged to complete the vaccination poll on the Student Portal.

From the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, the University has sought to provide staff, students and the wider community with credible COVID-19 and vaccination information.

Nelson Mandela University’s Vaccination Centre has hit the 1000 mark with that many vaccinations dispensed to staff since opening on 14 June.

With the sad news today of the passing of a second Mandela University student due to COVID-19, the University is again urging its staff and students to take up the vaccination opportunity when it arises.

As a communicable disease, each of us, whether a student or staff member, is obliged to report our COVID-19 positive status to the University.

As soon as you are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, it is recommended that you get your vaccine as soon as possible since it will give you better protection against severe illness.

Nelson Mandela University will be halting its vaccination to those in the 35 to 49-year age group – staff, students and members of the public - until 1 August following a directive last night from the Eastern Cape MEC for Health, through our District Manager, Darlene de Vos.

Nelson Mandela University’s Vaccination Centre in Gqeberha was swamped in more ways than one today. Not only did University staff have to contend with heavy showers, but also additional “guests” as dozens of essential workers and Nelson Mandela Bay’s Mayor Nqaba Bhanga arrived on the University’s North Campus site to join the national quest for immunization against COVID-19.

With the country’s vaccination rollout process well underway, Nelson Mandela University’s two vaccination centres – one for staff and the public, and the other for students, both on North Campus – continue to adapt in providing its critical service.

Due to the present national shortage of the Pfizer vaccine, Mandela University will be switching to the one-shot J&J vaccine from tomorrow (Wednesday, 21 July).

With the third wave of the COVID-19 still upon us and anxiety levels raised, we wish to remind staff and students of the basic guidelines and available support around the coronavirus pandemic.

Nelson Mandela University has opened up a second vaccination site, specifically dedicated to its 29 000 students.

The life-saving service offered by Nelson Mandela University’s Vaccination Centre to staff, students and the public in response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to gain momentum just as the registration date for the next phase of the national vaccination rollout programme has been announced.

In line with applicable regulations during the period of Adjusted Level 4, the University has recalibrated some of its plans in a bid to minimise the impact on learning, teaching, research and engagement. 

Kindly note that Mandela University’s Vaccination Hub is now open from 09:00 to 14:00 on Mondays to Thursdays and 09:00 to 12:00 on Fridays.  

As planning continues for the safe continuation of the academic project in line with the recent move to National Lockdown Adjusted Level 4, Nelson Mandela University remains committed to minimising the impact on staff and students as far as possible.

Yesterday afternoon (30 June 2021), the Minister of Higher Education, Training, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, outlined sector-specific guidelines pertaining to the move to National Lockdown Adjusted Alert Level 4 announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this week.

Last night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a move to National Lockdown Adjusted Alert Level 4 as part of the national coronavirus response.

Registration for COVID-19 vaccinations will open to the 50-plus age-group from 1 July. All Mandela University staff (and students) that fall into this category are urged to register on the national Electronic Vaccination Data System (EDVS)
Nelson Mandela University’s own vaccination rollout, which began on Monday as part of Phase 2 for the national programme, is happily gaining momentum – and high praise.

There were cheers all round yesterday when the vaccine arrived at the start of Nelson Mandela University’s vaccination rollout to staff in the 60-plus age group as part of Phase 2 of the COVID-19 vaccination national programme.

Nelson Mandela University has been approved as a Master Facility COVID-19 Vaccination Site by the Eastern Cape Department of Health (ECDoH).

Let’s stop non-compliance of COVID-19 protocols. By doing so, we help to stop transmission of the coronavirus.

All Mandela University staff (and students) in the 60-plus age-group category should urgently register on the national Electronic Vaccination Data System (EDVS) in anticipation of the institution’s vaccination accreditation approval.


Additional COVID-19 testing of students, following a 24-hour spike in infections on Tuesday, was undertaken by the Department of Health (DoH) yesterday to ascertain the extent of the spread of the coronavirus and to support anxious students.

The addition of 10 new COVID-19 cases among Mandela students in the past 24 hours should serve as an urgent warning to remain increasingly vigilant.

The University has developed a new non-compliance reporting tool as part of its ongoing, integrated efforts to safeguard the wellbeing of staff and students on its Gqeberha and George campuses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With close to a million vaccine jabs completed and the arrival of an additional 636 000 vaccines delivered to South Africa this week, interest in the national vaccination programme is growing.

With Phase 2 of the country’s vaccination rollout programme underway, everyone over the age of 60, including any staff members or students, is urged to register for the vaccination.

A short video sharing the vaccination journey planned for our North and George campuses is now available as part of the University’s preparations to offer staff and students the convenience of being vaccinated in their work or study environment.

For those who missed yesterday’s successful VAX FAX Conversation Webinar at which our health professionals shared insights on the University’s own vaccination plans, please go to the University’s Webinar website or directly to our YouTube channel.

Nelson Mandela University’s readiness to offer staff and students the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccination at their place of employ or study took a positive step forward in Gqeberha and George last week with the first of a three-part accreditation process by the local Department of Health.

Stay vigilant and stay home if you experience two or more COVID-19 symptoms.

The response of University staff and students to the COVID-19 vaccination opportunity will be visually captured in a syringe graphic on both our staff and student portals.

Nelson Mandela University has only recorded one positive COVID-19 case among its staff and students, in the past 12 weeks, and that individual has since been cleared, giving us a present clean bill of health.

In preparation for the national vaccination rollout programme, Nelson Mandela University is hosting online vaccine education and training sessions for all staff from 22 April to 7 May.


Online registration for Phase 2 of the country’s vaccination rollout programme was launched today.

As the country prepares for Phase 2 of the national COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout Plan, the Eastern Cape Department of Health (EC DoH) wishes to urgently gather key information of all Nelson Mandela University staff and students for planning purposes.

As we prepare to enjoy Easter weekend, please continue to remain vigilant in practicing all prevention measures against the transmission of COVID-19.

The University is actively preparing itself as an accredited vaccination centre to support its staff and students as part of the country’s phased COVID-19 vaccination rollout programme.

Free rapid result coronavirus testing for any concerned staff, students and other members of the public is being offered before the Easter weekend. 

With fears of a Third Wave of increased COVID-19 infections predicted, the University is calling on all staff and students to remain vigilant and continue to practice prevention measures.

The Remembrance Service to be flighted at midday on Friday, 26 March, offers you, as a student or staff member, the opportunity to further honour those loved ones who have died due to COVID-19 and other reasons in the past year.

More and more Mandela University staff members have returned to campus to work as the 2021 Academic Year slowly gets underway under the less restrictive level 1 working conditions.

As the country prepares for Phase 2 of the national COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout Plan, the Eastern Cape Department of Health (EC DoH) wishes to urgently gather key information of all Nelson Mandela University staff and students for planning purposes.

The University will be hosting a short virtual service at midday on 26 March to give all staff and students the opportunity to collectively remember and celebrate those we have lost since the global pandemic changed our lives forever.

Vaccine and vaccination information sharing sessions are underway as part of the University’s commitment to educate staff and students about the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccination rollout programme.

Almost half of staff polled are ready to take the COVID-19 vaccination, while only a third of Mandela University students gave the vaccination opportunity the thumbs up, according to the findings of a recent dipstick survey.

The University is committed to providing all staff and students with credible information and training about vaccines to enable each of us to make an informed decision about the forthcoming COVID-19 vaccination opportunity.

Three sets of vaccine-related posters in three different languages in the Mandela University brand are available to you and the public at large to download for free.

The University is conducting an anonymous poll among staff and students to get a sense of support for or against taking the COVID-19 vaccination.

An easy-to-follow guide on vaccines and vaccination has been produced by the University to give all staff and students a better understanding on the subject.
Dear Students, please join us for the Higher Health Training information sharing session and educational information with regards to the COVID-19 Vaccine roll out.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela

It is this famous quote on the brink of the COVID-19 vaccination programme that informs this University’s efforts to provide all stakeholder groups with credible and reliable information about vaccines and the rollout process.

All staff, students and visitors to Nelson Mandela University must show their COVID-19 screening results when entering any of the institution’s seven campuses in Port Elizabeth and George.

With a new, more transmissible, variant of the pandemic now in force and affecting a greater number of young people, Nelson Mandela University is increasingly seeking ways to improve health and safety measures for staff, students and visitors on its campuses.

A new COVID-19 home care guide and a coronavirus and vaccine booklet are now available on the University’s coronavirus website and also attached here for your convenience.

With a new, more transmissible, variant of the coronavirus spreading and adjusted level 3 restrictions in place, Nelson Mandela University is increasingly seeking ways to improve health and safety measures for staff, students and visitors on its campuses.

Kindly take note of the following IMPORTANT information.
As you return to your work or studies, it is important to consider the implications of the Alert Level 3 adjusted COVID-19 regulations that came into effect at midnight on 28 December 2020 and a subsequent communication received from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) on 31 December 2020.

Nelson Mandela University staff should follow the same principles, processes and protocols for working in 2021 after the year-end break.

For returning students to Nelson Mandela University early in 2021, the same protocols and processes apply, particularly in terms of needing a University permit to access the campus and residences.

With the increased need for information due to growing concerns relating to the second surge of COVID-19 infections, especially with our Metro declared an official “hotspot”, here are some useful links on our website.

Did you know?  You can be COVID-19 positive and not even know it. Yes, while you are asymptomatic, and are showing no symptoms, you can unwittingly spread the virus.

With infection rates in Nelson Mandela Bay on the rise, we need to do all we can to contain the virus.

As part of Nelson Mandela University’s commitment towards containing the spread of the virus, it has developed a series of COVID-19 posters, all of which are available for free download.

With infection rates increasing at a rapid rate in Nelson Mandela Bay and the President imposing more restrictions on the Bay, staff are encouraged to continue working from home where possible or practising rotational or staggered working for those whose work requires them to be on campus. 

Please join us for a Higher Health Training Session on either 4th December 2020.
Due to COVID19 exposure and precautionary measures the North Campus clinic is closed till further notice.

We are here to support you and your wellbeing, and in doing so, also contain the spread of the virus.


The Eastern and Western Cape provinces, where Nelson Mandela University campuses are situated, are experiencing a resurgence of COVID-19 infections.  The rate of infections and fatalities is a cause for concern.

As with all other aspects of life at Nelson Mandela University, our annual institutional events have been reinvented.

Nelson Mandela University will be marking its online content black in response to the call by President Cyril Ramaphosa to spend five days – from 25 to 29 November – as a country wearing black to mourn those lost to COVID-19 and those impacted by GBV at this time.

Nelson Mandela University has intensified its efforts to contain the present spike in infections on its campuses and within its accredited off-campus residences through a series of interventions.

Ever wondered what the difference is between quarantine and isolation, or contact and close contact?

The exponential increase of infections in Nelson Mandela Bay and at our university calls for more united and determined action to reverse this negative trend.

The spike of infections on both the University’s Port Elizabeth and George campuses is deeply concerning, all the more so because of ongoing blatant non-compliance of COVID-19 preventative measures.

The quarantining of residences forms part of national COVID-19 regulations aimed at countering the spread of the pandemic. It is introduced when two or more students in the same residence or any other area for that matter, contract the virus within 72 hours.
George Campus confirms its first COVID–19 case after a student tested positive on Thursday (5 November). The student is currently in isolation at an off-campus government facility, being monitored by healthcare professionals.
The recent spike in COVID-19 infections among both staff and students (see student and staff portals for latest figures) makes adherence to coronavirus health and safety measures even more critical.
A COVID-19 resurgence is upon us, as evidenced by the rising number of cases nationally. The Nelson Mandela Bay Metro has been flagged as a hotspot as numbers continue to rise.

The spike in COVID-19 infections among both staff and students at Nelson Mandela University, and the country in recent weeks, is concerning and could become a growing challenge if not pro-actively managed. 

The University acknowledges the multiple challenges and changes that line managers, in particular, are facing in guiding and ensuring the wellbeing of their teams during such uncertainty as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nelson Mandela University remains committed to saving lives while striving to complete the academic year in the face of many challenges, including present concerns around an increase in infections, both on and off campus.  
With a second wave of infections in the country upon us, it is imperative that each of us does what we can to prevent the spread of the virus on our campuses and in our off-campus residences.

With the possibility of a second wave of infections in the country, the University is taking a pro-active, preventative stance by suspending all engagements that involve large face-to-face meetings among student societies, parties within residence rooms and any other flagrant violation of containment measures. This suspension, introduced on Friday, only relates to those social engagements that are key drivers in transmitting the virus on and off campus.

As part of implementing its multi-pronged strategy of harnessing the power and ubiquity of technology, Nelson Mandela University recognises the importance of digital participation by all students.  Connectivity to the world wide web and access to digital learning, teaching and research resources remains a priority.

In recent weeks, Nelson Mandela Metro has experienced a rather sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 infections, with the recorded positive cases doubling weekly. The Metro is also leading in the Eastern Cape both in terms of the daily number of infections and the number of active positive cases.


One of the many changes brought about by the impact of the global pandemic has been the shift towards an increased reliance on technology.  In efforts to promote safety, the University has made deliberate strides in harnessing technology in support of learning and teaching and research as well as enabling remote working.

With the risk of a second surge of COVID-19 infections ever present, the University is continuously adapting and evolving its processes to improve levels of safety on all seven campuses.

The University’s campus libraries are set to open today (Wednesday, 21 October 2020) under stringent new processes to meet individual study needs while ensuring staff and student safety in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

A new series of #MaskUpMandela campaign posters is available for downloading, along with the latest set of Alert Level 1 restriction posters for your convenience.

The University that students left behind in March has changed drastically as new ways of working, studying and living have been introduced to enable us to complete the academic year while remaining safe.

Level 1: Update

As the second semester begins in line with the revised academic calendar and the new flexible blended learning approach due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the University has undertaken a thorough risk assessment of its capacity to operate under the recently announced Alert Level 1.

Alert Level 1 - learning and teaching update from the DVC: Learning & Teaching

In a bid to alleviate growing congestion at the North Campus entrance as staff and students adapt to the new COVID-19 compliance checks, the South Campus boom entrance will also be opened from Monday, 5 October.


All staff and students are expected to use the University’s own COVID-19 self-screening tool daily to monitor their own wellbeing and show the results thereof to gain access onto campus and certain venues.

The past few weeks have presented some rather rapid developments in the country with regards to the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Dear Colleagues and Students

The past few weeks have presented some rather rapid developments in the country with regards to the easing of lockdown restrictions. It was only recently that I wrote to you about us easing into Alert Level 2, and now, with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement over a week, ago the conversation is now around Alert Level 1.

Staff and students should continue to follow the return to campus practices introduced under Alert Level 2, as the University makes the necessary risk assessment adjustments in preparing for the less restrictive Alert Level 1.

In preparation for the gradual return to campus, a lot of work has gone towards ensuring that staff and students come back to a safe and COVID-19 compliant environment on campus.

Whether it is fighting a pandemic, changing your behaviour or boosting morale – ‘It is in your hands’.

I greet you all, as we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic as one world.

More than 11 800 students have already accepted the opportunity to return to campus to continue their studies, albeit in new ways and in very different conditions.

As increasing numbers of students prepare to return to campus in line with Lockdown Level 2 regulations, so our vigilance at maintaining the present low transmission status at Nelson Mandela University must be retained.

The 2021 academic year at Nelson Mandela University looks set to begin in March 2021, as the current academic year will be extended to ensure its successful completion.

We have learnt much from the COVID-19 pandemic, not least the critical role of those staff members who have kept Nelson Mandela University functioning and safe – our frontline workers.


Nelson Mandela University will follow the same cautious and controlled approach in welcoming more staff and students back onto campus in the forthcoming weeks.  Up to 66% of our staff and returning students are permitted to be on campus, as per the Lockdown Level 2 regulations.

In a bid to create awareness, destigmatise the coronavirus and offer hope, four more University staff members have shared their stories, each emphasising the importance of support they received during their recovery from COVID-19.

With no new COVID-19 cases on any of its campuses in the past week, the University is committed to doing all that it can to maintain the status quo by calling on the support of all staff and students to make this possible.

In our previous message, we indicated that a Revised Academic Calendar for 2020 is being developed and will be presented to the Executive Committee of Senate (ECS) for approval.

In anticipation of your return during Lockdown Level 2 and the lessons learnt during the present restrictions, please be reminded of the steps to be followed in returning to work on campus.

Nelson Mandela University is symbolically recognising the recovery of its staff members from COVID-19 with Olive Trees.

The same controlled, phased approach for the “return to campus of staff and students” under the present regulations, will be followed for the new Lockdown Level 2 restrictions, to ensure that health and safety compliance continues to be well managed.

A new online meal booking system as part of the University’s drive to improve the safety of students while on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic, will be launched on some Port Elizabeth campuses today.

The scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the poor, in particular, has once again highlighted the need for intervention in the country’s most vulnerable communities.

The working, learning and teaching experience at higher education institutions in the last few months has been extraordinarily different to the way it was when staff and students left campuses on early Recess in March 2020.


The University’s Coronavirus website ( is your go-to destination for all matters relating the pandemic and is consistently updated in line with both internal and national changes.

In terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 (OHSA), an employer is obliged to, as far as reasonably practicable, create and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of its employees.

HIGHER HEALTH is the national agency of the Department of Higher Education and Training, dedicated to student and staff wellbeing. This organisation is currently addressing the mental health needs of over two-million students and staff, as the mental health and wellbeing of whole societies have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank you to those staff members who have completed the health declaration form and online COVID-19 prevention measures training.

Whether you are on or off campus, as a Nelson Mandela University student, we are here to support you, especially if you have tested positive for COVID-19. 

To monitor your own wellbeing, all staff and students should use the University’s own online COVID-19 self-screening tool.

Just as no-one could have predicted the COVID-19 virus or its global impact, so no individual, institution or country has all the answers in navigating the safest and most economically astute way forward. What’s more, no-one is able to accurately predict when this crisis will end.

With health and safety the overriding priority at Nelson Mandela University in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, students who have been notified to return to campus will need to follow stringent processes, including the mandatory use of three key items to enable safer ease of movement.

The University’s student transport system has resumed in line with the gradual, phased return of notified students to campus.

It is in your hands.” That’s the key message Nelson Mandela University will be driving in an external marketing campaign to encourage every individual to play his or her part in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the University welcomes 33% of our students back to campuses in a staggered manner in terms of the directives by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, we are aware that the University community is anxious to receive information on the adjusted academic dates for the 2020 academic year.

Unsure of what to do if you test positive for COVID-19? Want to know about cleaning support at the University? Seeking wellness help? For answers to these and countless other questions relating to new ways of working, studying, learning and teaching, and living at Nelson Mandela University during the coronavirus pandemic, please refer to our new Return to Campus Guide

A new cartoon called eRona Times depicting real people in real settings playing their part in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic will be released today.

As South Africa nears 100 days of Lockdown and COVID-19 case numbers rapidly rise, the University continues with its cautious but controlled approach towards completing the 2020 Academic Year.

We are mindful that the disruption brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic has not been an easy journey for our students and academic staff, who have had to switch to blended learning in the quest to complete the 2020 Academic Year.

To assist you with information and / or to provide guidance on all matters relating to the COVID-19 pandemic please make use of the following:

The Nelson Mandela University Convergence Fund has been gaining traction, attracting donations from various members of the University community around the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on every facet of life, not least the way we work. At Nelson Mandela University we are committed to ensuring that our students complete the 2020 Academic Year while also adhering to national safety regulations.

As the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic spikes across the Eastern Cape, Nelson Mandela University continues to intensify efforts to contain the virus through screening and targeted testing of significant contacts.  This, after Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Buffalo City Metro, OR Tambo District Municipality and Chris Hani District Municipality were named as hotspots in the province, a great concern for all in the province, including students and staff at the University.

The number of staff members who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus at Nelson Mandela University has risen to 19, with four additional cases confirmed over the long weekend and an additional one today.
The management of vulnerable employees based on their risk assessment will be implemented by line managers, heads of departments, and divisions throughout all levels of the University.

Prevention is our best defence in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, each staff member needs to know what these prevention measures are and how to practice them. 

A new online COVID-19 self-screening tool aimed at monitoring the wellbeing of Nelson Mandela University staff and students and to facilitate easier access to campuses and residences is now officially in use.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University is required to identify all vulnerable staff members and put appropriate procedures in place to address their specific needs.

Status update

Preparing our campuses, facilities and residences for a new way of learning and living in the face of rising COVID-19 cases throughout the country, and in the Metro, has been a particularly anxious time for staff at the University.

To ensure a safe and controlled return to campus by those critical and essential staff members identified and approved to physically work on the University’s grounds to prepare for a gradual resumption of activities, a series of interventions has been put in place.

As the safety of staff and students comes first, the University has taken the precautionary decision to quarantine members of its Port Elizabeth-based Protection Services team.

The University is aware of the many concerns relating to the return to campus of a limited number of staff and students later this month. Please be assured that plans to this end are well advanced, and that you will be given ample time to prepare, should you be identified to be among the first to return.


Following the first confirmed COVID-19 case in South Africa, Nelson Mandela University put together a multi-stakeholder Coronavirus Task Team (CTT), which was tasked with coordinating the institutional response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 surveillance and disease management plans were implemented in full this week as more support staff members returned to Nelson Mandela University campuses to begin preparations for an incremental return of identified staff and students, later this month.

This letter on the completion of the academic year and the phased return to campus was sent to students.

A national state of disaster was published in Government Gazette No. 43096 on 15 March 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The University, like all other institutions, has been under Lockdown alert Level 5 and Level 4.

“At this time, more than any other, we are reminded of the words of Madiba, when he said: ‘It is now in your hands’.”

Nelson Mandela University has devised a process to ensure a safe and controlled opening of its facilities in managing the gradual return to campus of identified staff and students in line with national regulations.

We will be provisioning the next allocation of data to students on the 3/4th June as the previous allocation will expire.

Wellness Check-in

After more than 60 days of Lockdown, trying to work and study in new ways in a new environment, while also balancing a home life against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, can understandably cause great stress and anxiety.

As the country prepares for the next step in its phased return to work from 1 June, so Nelson Mandela University is readying itself for new ways of working, teaching, living and being without compromising the safety and wellbeing of its staff and students.

Posters aimed at increasing awareness around the important role each of us – staff and students - has by wearing masks in public, are available free for download from the University’s #MaskUp website.

Support Services line managers and other managers whose team members are returning to campus shortly are urged to contact HR soonest to arrange for a virtual training session on COVID-19 prevention measures.

Nelson Mandela University launched its Convergence Fund in April 2020.  The rationale for the establishment of the Convergence Fund was provided in an earlier memo, with more information to be found here:

The global COVID-19 pandemic saw the Government announce a national disaster and introduce Lockdown restrictions on 27 March to prevent the spread of the virus and “flatten of the curve”. The regulations promulgated under the National Disaster Act, 2002, directed for a national Level 5 national lockdown of economic activity.


Nelson Mandela University’s Occupational Health doctor has received a positive COVID-19 result for one of our critical on-site services staff members.

The first batch of laptops to enable additional Mandela University students to continue their studies online during the lockdown period will be dispatched later this week.

As the #MaskUpMandela movement gains momentum as part of a collective national drive to change behaviour and save lives, the University is seeking material donations to make masks.

Changing behaviour to save lives is the overriding hope of the #MaskUpMandela movement.

To date a total of 27 766 students subscribing to the major Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have received data bundles that enable them to participate in online learning during the lockdown period.

In recent weeks, several announcements have been made on developments in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic generally and, with regards to the higher education sector.

Can you sew? Do you have material? Are you available to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus by making masks?

Recently, government has made several announcements in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. In the main, we shift from a national lockdown alert Level 5 to alert Level 4, with the announcement of the plans for the higher education sector to commence the roll-out of a phased return to campus.

In keeping with the strategies to support a multi-modal flexible remote learning and teaching pathway during Level 4 of Lockdown announced by the Minister for Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, Nelson Mandela University is putting the following measures in place...

In recognition of UNESCO’s International Jazz Day 2020 in the midst of the present pandemic, the University wishes to honour the COVID-19 front-line workers with its own tribute.

The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in the history of our young democracy. Government has shown great initiative in introducing measures to manage the pandemic and its impact on South African society.

The University is actively pursuing a number of initiatives to support students in utilising online learning platforms, as well as for staff to work remotely.


Today, as Nelson Mandela University confers the awarding of qualifications in absentia, we salute the 4 447 students who would have been celebrating at Autumn Graduation this week.

As our Vice-Chancellor Professor Sibongile Muthwa indicated in her Memo on Monday this week, we have started to phase in new ways of learning and teaching since 21 April.

Throughout the world, people from all nations, races, ages and capabilities are coming together to do what they can to fight the pandemic that has changed life as we know it.

The global cybersecurity landscape has seen a spike in criminal activity since employees were allowed to work from home.  Criminals have realised that employees are no longer working within their organisation where they are protected by the full extent of the organisation’s security systems.

Graduation in absentia for students who completed their qualifications during the 2019 academic year. April is the annual Graduation season at Nelson Mandela University. As previously shared the Autumn Graduation season has been postponed to later in the year due to the current lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

As you would be aware, we remain in a highly volatile period as a country, sector and university. The fluidity of the situation we find ourselves in is one that makes planning and implementation extremely challenging, particularly because the scourge of the COVID-19 disease is beyond our present control.

While we support the need for Universities to respond as a collective, as to when and the way in which academic activities will resume, we also realise that some responses, will have to be tailor-made to institution-specific conditions.


Join the live session on Friday, 17 April 2020 via this link:

The world as we know it has been tipped on its head, and we find ourselves in uncharted waters, not knowing what the future holds.


The creation and production of various types of personal protective gear (PPE) is underway at Nelson Mandela University, thanks to staff from the Department of Fashion and Textile Design.

As the number of (COVID-19) novel Coronavirus cases escalates in South Africa and the Eastern Cape, efforts to curb the spread of the virus are being intensified, with Nelson Mandela University availing its suite of skills and expertise to support local and provincial government’s efforts in the fight against the unfolding pandemic.

COVID-19 continues to have a tremendous impact on the lives of many, as its ripple effect is felt across the world. For high school learners the uncertainty around their ability to successfully complete the 2020 academic year has left many adrift, but we are confident that the interventions currently being implemented by the Department of Basic Education and other key stakeholders to help learners in all grades complete the 2020 academic year, will alleviate some of the concerns they currently face.

The university continues to encourage and enable staff and students to adhere to and find ways to cope with the national lockdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Nelson Mandela University is hosting a dedicated Coronavirus website for the convenience of all staff and students.

In a bid to keep staff abreast of developments and support mechanisms during the lockdown period, the University has introduced a Staff Resource page on the staff portal for your convenience.

The University is actively pursuing a number of initiatives to support students in utilising online learning platforms, as well as for staff to work remotely.

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).

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) may have a tremendous impact on the wellness of many, as its ripple effects continue being felt across the world.

Kindly note that Resources for Staff that may be required during the 21-day lockdown are all available on the staff portal

“We will prioritise the lives and livelihoods of our people above all else …”

The impact of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues its ripple effect across the world, and continues to affect South Africa’s higher education sector deeply.

Firstly, I would like to thank our President Cyril Ramaphosa, for his courageous and decisive leadership.  Worldwide the COVID-19 pandemic is rampant and is increasing much faster than initially anticipated.

We note President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of a nationwide lockdown for 21 days from midnight on Thursday, 26 March 2020 to midnight on Thursday, 16 April 2020.

The Eastern Cape recorded its first confirmed novel coronavirus (COVID-19) case on Saturday, 21 March 2020, with the figure increasing to two as at the latest official update on Sunday, 22 March 2020.

Travel register

An international travel ban is presently in place, and all other internal travelling for business or private matters should be postponed for now, in line with national directives to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The impact novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which has been declared a global pandemic and a national disaster in South Africa, has created a highly volatile situation that has necessitated a great deal of flexibility in the way that work is conducted.

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.

New working arrangements, production of our own hand sanitiser and the training of Contact Centre staff are among the many measures that have been implemented in the past week to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the University.

The University will be adapting its usual working arrangements to limit the number of staff on its seven campuses while still ensuring operational continuity during the Recess period starting today.

The number of confirmed novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in South Africa continues to rise, with the latest figures from Government showing that the country presently stands at 116 infections. This figure is up from 85, as at yesterday (17 March 2020).

Following a consultative meeting today between Dr Blade Nzimande, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Universities South Africa (USAf) Executive Committee and other stakeholders, a decision was reached to advise Universities and TVET colleges to call for an early Recess from Wednesday, 18 March 2020.

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the University is implementing a range of additional sanitary and hygiene measures to help prevent the spread of the disease across all its campuses in Port Elizabeth and George.

You would have noticed these posters up around campus, in off-campus residences and in student shuttles.

The number of confirmed novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in South Africa have increased from 24 to 62, pointing to the rapid spread of the virus in parts of the country where there have been confirmed cases.

The leadership of the University is currently meeting to consult on the appropriate response for our institution in view of the national developments around COVID-19.

South African Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, announced earlier today that the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country has risen to 24, with rising concerns at the spread of the virus through local interaction.

What we are doing

This is how we are going to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our workplace and study areas. These low-cost measures will help prevent the spread of infections in our workplace and study areas, such as colds, flu and stomach bugs and of course, COVID-19.

Nelson Mandela University’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response task team is working to put measures in place to prepare the University as far as possible for any eventuality related to the virus.

On 9 January 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that a new coronavirus strain (COVID-19) was identified in China, linked to an outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan City, in Hubei Province.

Dear Colleagues
Please attached information regarding Coronavirus and the Workplace.

Dear Colleagues
Please find attached The Department of Health’s information with regard to Coronavirus.
Please pay specific attention to Slides 6-10. 

Dear Students
The current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019.

Know the symptoms and report to Campus Health Services for screening if needed.