Vice-Chancellor Message – 05 June 2020

​Dear UJ Community

We are now edging closer to welcoming back our staff and students who are eligible to return to campuses and residences under the COVID-19 national lockdown Level 3. Next week Friday, 12 June 2020, we will reopen our residences to eligible students who wish to return to their respective places of accommodation. On Wednesday, 17 June 2020, eligible staff and students will resume contact face-to-face academic and research activities on campuses. As communicated last week, this will be done in accordance with the up to 33% limit on students and staff who can return, as per the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology (DHET) guidelines. In fact, today our university welcomed a DHET delegation, led by the Deputy Minister Hon Buti Manamela, to assess our readiness to resume campus-based academic activities.

Priority will be given to select on-campus activities, such as practicals, laboratory-based work, clinical and essential work, etc., (in essence those modules that cannot be taught online) for final year and postgraduate students. To read more about the categories of staff and students who are eligible to return to campuses, click here. We are now finalising the clear criteria to identify those who are eligible to return, cognisant of the up to 33% limit. Eligible staff and students have received letters notifying them when they may return to campus. Students are reminded that they will need to have a travel permit from the university when returning, particularly if they need to cross provincial borders. The university will soon provide more details in this regard.

I am particularly impressed with the progress made regarding the implementation of our Reintegration Plan, which outlines preparations for our campuses and residences to be ready for the partial return of our staff and students. I thought it was important to remind you about this important information:

  • All staff and students will be subjected to a safety induction process, that will include the completion of the declaration of indemnity forms.
  • All staff, students and external stakeholders to complete a compulsory screening.
  • All staff, students, and external stakeholders must wear cloth masks at all times (they will collect masks upon first entering campus).
  • All line managers in various departments/divisions are required to perform and report on a risk assessment of their respective work environments.
  • Additionally, all returning staff and students should provide names of contact persons (next of kin) to staff at Campus Health Service when requested, should they become symptomatic. This is in adherence to Departments of Health and Employment and Labour guidelines.

As has become a custom at our university, each week brings its fair share of good news. I am happy to announce that UJ has become the first South African university to add Xero Learn, a cloud accounting platform, to its syllabus. This is a significant boost for accountants of the future. Technology is transforming the role of accountants and freeing them up to act as advisors and provide the support businesses currently need. This is critical as economic uncertainty continues to impact on our Small and Medium Enterprises community. For more information on this development, please click here.

Please join me in congratulating Prof Cecile Nieuwenhuizen, our DHET-NRF SARChI Chair in Entrepreneurship Education, for being bestowed with an Honorary Doctorate by the Cracow University of Economics in Poland. She has been recognised for her contribution to entrepreneurial education in South Africa, and in Poland since the integration of Eastern Europe into EU supply chains. Notably, she played a significant role in guiding smaller businesses into an improved institutional setting and convergence with EU standards, including anti-monopoly rules and environmental protection. Well done Prof Nieuwenhuizen, you do UJ proud!

It does not end there. Please also join me in congratulating Prof Philiswa Nosizo Nomngongo and Prof Ian Dubery for their nominations as finalists in the prestigious National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)-South32 Awards. Prof Nomngongo, our Associate Professor and Chair: DSI/NRF South African Research Chair Initiative: Nanotechnology for Water, has been nominated in two categories: The ​TW Kambule-NSTF Award: Emerging Researcher and Engineering Research Capacity Development Award. Prof Dubery, our Research Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Director for the Centre for Plant Metabolomics, has been nominated for the Special Annual Theme Award: Plant Health. Profs Nomngongo and Dubery, well done and I wish you all the best in the finals!

On Wednesday, 3 June 2020, UJ hosted its fourth of the weekly webinar series that reimagines the world after the COVID-19 pandemic. This week’s event was held under the theme Inequality after COVID-19. I hope that those of you who joined in found the discussions insightful. The weekly virtual seminars are free of charge. However, we urge you to register online at to participate in this series and to receive updates. You may also subscribe to UJ’s YouTube channel to be notified when the full webinar is available. Details of our next session will be announced soon via our various communication platforms, including our website and social media accounts. This webinar series continues to attract good media coverage, thanks to our University Relations Division staff who have done well to market and publicise each of the sessions. Through their work, UJ continues to not only dominate the media space but sets the news agenda as well.

Talking of our University Relations Division, you might have over the last week noticed stories about how UJ has embraced 4IR technologies to create jobs, diagnose breast cancer and save lives. If you missed them, visit If you have a 4IR in Action story that has the potential to be developed in the same way, send the details to UJ’s Marketing and Brand section at Also, don’t miss the two new UJ 4IR videos at UJ and the 4th Industrial Revolution and A revolution is sweeping the world.

Please continue to visit our COVID-19 portal on the UJ website for important information, including health and wellbeing. Only information issued via the University’s official communication platforms is legitimate. This information may be verified by visiting: http://localhost/wordpress/corona-virus//. We appeal to all to adhere to the recommended precautionary measures, hygiene and social distancing at all times.


With my very best wishes,


Professor Tshilidzi Marwala

Vice-Chancellor and Principal

University of Johannesburg

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