South African universities record 22 deaths from Covid-19

Twenty  staff members and two students from universities across the country have died from the coronavirus

The Mail & Guardian has seen statistics that universities have shared with Universities South Africa (Usaf) on Covid-19 casualties.  

According to the statistics, Rhodes University, Vaal University of Technology, Stellenbosch University and Walter Sisulu University of Technology have each lost two staff members to the virus. On Wednesday, the University of Cape Town announced that seven staff members and one student have succumbed to the virus. 

The universities of Johannesburg, the Witwatersrand, Limpopo and the Western Cape have each had one staff member succumb to the virus, as have Nelson Mandela University and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology 

The M&G confirmed these numbers from those the institutions that responded to its questions; others, including Stellenbosch University, and Rhodes would not give access to their figures. 


The M&G also asked the institutions for its figures of staff and students who had contracted the virus. The numbers do not necessarily mean that all the staff and students tested positive while on campus; some of them contracted the virus while studying and working from home. 

The survey revealed that: 

  • The University of Pretoria has 107 students and staff who have tested positive for the virus, most of them while not on campus; 
  • The University of Cape Town has 92 Covid-19 cases, comprising 71 staff members and 21 students. Of the 21 students, eight are faculty of health science students. The university says 47 staff members have recovered;
  • At Nelson Mandela University 58 staff members tested positive for the virus and 42 have since recovered. Eleven students tested positive and five have recovered; 
  • The University of Free State has nine staff who have the coronavirus and four students;
  • At the Central University of Technology, which has campuses in Bloemfontein and Welkom, two staff and three students have tested positive for the virus; 
  • Sixty-one staff members from Wits University have tested positive, as well as 23 students;
  • As of last Friday, the University of North West had 20 people who had tested positive for the virus;
  • At the University of Western Cape, 19 staff members had tested positive and 18 have since recovered. Sixteen students tested positive and they have all recovered; 
  • At the University of KwaZulu-Natal 31 staff members and 16 students tested positive for Covid-19;
  • There are 67 positive staff members at the University of Johannesburg and 25 have recovered; eight students of the 18 that contracted Covid-19 have recovered; 
  • At Sol Plaatje University in Kimberley, one staff member tested positive for the virus, as did four students; 
  • At Sefako Health Sciences University eight staff members and two students tested positive for the virus;
  • The University of Venda has had three positive cases, all staff members who have have since recovered; and  
  • Three staff members also tested positive at the University of Limpopo.

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Bongekile Macupe
Bongekile Macupe is an education reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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