UCT Student Representative council member Retshedisitswe Molefe at a vaccination site. Picture: Supplied
UCT Student Representative council member Retshedisitswe Molefe at a vaccination site. Picture: Supplied

UCT agrees “in principle” for mandatory vaccination

By Bulelwa Payi Time of article published Oct 20, 2021

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UCT required that all staff and students provide acceptable proof of having been vaccinated against Covid-19 for next year. But Stellenbosch still to vote on whether to follow suit.

The university’s council has approved “in principle" to make vaccinations mandatory and a prerequisite for access to campus as from January 2022.

University Spokesperson Elijah Moholoa said the council decision followed engagements with the campus community, staff and students who were also invited to complete a short survey on the matter.

Moholosa said the council also resolved that the executive establish a panel to develop operational details required to implement the campus access , including the principles and guidelines for exemption from a requirement to provide proof of vaccination.

UCT Student Representative council member Retshedisitswe Molefe at a vaccination site. Picture: Supplied

"The majority of staff and students who completed the survey supported a mandatory vaccination policy for UCT," said Moholola.

The Students Representative Council (SRC) president, Declan Dyer, said of the 25 % of the student population that participated in the survey, about 52% were in favour of making vaccination mandatory.

He said the student body would continue to encourage students to vaccinate and would be represented on the panel to be established.

The UCT executive would be required to report back to Council at its December 2021 meeting.

Institutions of higher learning countrywide are dealing with the question of whether or not to adopt policies making vaccination mandatory as the country deals with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last month Stellenbosch University said it was exploring the possibility of mandatory vaccines and a task team was appointed to conduct a "risk assessment".

However, rector and Vice-Chancellor Professor Wim de Villiers said at the time that it was an "institutional priority" for the university that all its staff and students be vaccinated.

He said: “A vaccine rule will determine the extent to which staff and students can work and study at the University depending on their vaccination status. It will describe the expectation, as well as the criteria for exceptions."

The council mandated management to work towards the urgent development of a rule on vaccination for students and staff for the 2022 academic year.

University Spokesperson Martin Viljoen said the council would take a final decision on the matter at its meeting on December 2.

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