Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, has closed down all universities and TVET colleges until further notice as part of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The closures take effect from Wednesday, in line with steps taken by the Department of Basic Education to close schools. Minister Nzimande was addressing the media in Pretoria.

“Of course some of the institutional activities will continue during this period such as postgraduate and research work. In other words, it’s not a shut down its an early recess which in the main means the suspension of academic activity and lecturers mainly for undergraduate and TVET colleges of course for diploma and certificate programs,” says Nzimande.

Minister Blade Nzimande briefs media on measures to combat COVID-19: 

On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the coronavirus outbreak a national disaster.  Among other measures – gatherings of more than 100 people were banned and schools set to close on Wednesday.

The first coronavirus case in South Africa was confirmed on 5 March and the number of cases currently stands at 62.

Students urged to engage NSFAS online 

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) says it will be operating on 50%  of its personnel as a precautionary measure to combat Covid-19.

NSFAS reassured students that their funding allocations will not be affected. Staff members will be segmented into priority groups to lower human interaction at the NSFAS Wynberg Head office in Cape Town. Clients, students and applicants are encouraged to engage with NSFAS on the online platforms.