Speech by the Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg on the University’s compulsory vaccination policy

Speech by the Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg on the University’s compulsory vaccination policy

By today UJ News– Yesterday a handful of students staged a protest outside Auckland Park Kingsway campus against our university Compulsory vaccination policy. They were joined by a few individuals claiming to be former students. I must hasten to point out that there is nothing unusual or alarming about this. Demonstrations and protests are an integral part of our democracy.

They are part of the rights enshrined in the Constitution. As stated in the Bill of Rights, everyone has the right to freedom of expression as well as the right to assemble, demonstrate, picket and present petitions – as long as it is done peacefully and does not infringe on human rights. from others. .

As widely communicated, the adoption of the mandatory vaccination policy provides provisions for employees, postdocs and non-vaccinable students request exemptions. Exemptions are granted for medical or religious reasons. I want to remind you that in our approach to this policy, UJ seeks to balance the rights of individuals against the collective rights of the University and the wider community. As collective rights take precedence, the rights of individuals may be limited, under Section 36 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.

I have tried not to invoke recent court judgments on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies to justify our university’s policy. This is because I have confidence in our University’s approach to this. We have always been guided by the principle of transparency, openness and accountability, taking into account the interests of our university community. However, there are recent cases that make it not only tempting but also compelling to refer to it.

Earlier this week, the Eastern Cape High Court in Makhanda rejected an urgent request for a temporary ban against the vaccination mandate at Rhodes University. The petition was filed by the group Makhanda Against Mandates, which sought an interim ban pending a judicial review to declare the policy unconstitutional. However, the judge ruled in favor of the University and struck the case out of the list with costs. It came after the Bloemfontein High Court last month struck out a restraining application seeking to stop the implementation of vaccination policy at the University of the Free State (UFS). The request was filed by a group calling itself Free State for Choice (FS4C).

At UJ, I am delighted to see that a carnivalesque atmosphere reigns on our campuses, quite literary. Indeed, it is evident that our staff and most of our students adopt the compulsory vaccination policy. It has been encouraging to see our students and postdoctoral fellows show their excitement and enthusiasm to be back on campus. It is obvious that they want to continue their learning and research activities.

To this end, I would like to remind our employees who still intend to apply for an exemption that employees have until today (March 4, 2022) to submit such requests. Students have until next Wednesday (March 9, 2022) to do so.. Staff, postdoctoral researchers and students can apply through the online system https://ulink.uj.ac.za/ujvac. After the respective closing dates above, no further applications/exemption requests will be considered.

On a different note, Gauteng Province accounts for more than half (55%) of the country’s electronic waste, also known as e-waste. I am pleased to announce that UJ has partnered with Gauteng Provincial Government and Gauteng Department of e-Government on e-waste program. Our Institute of Intelligent Systems (IIS) led this offer, in partnership with the Higher Schools of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (EFTP). The proposed enterprising ecosystem (learning by doing) encourages various facets of the e-Waste program as well as the technical phases of e-waste recycling (circular economy and fourth industrial revolution).

The strategy was developed with input from our Process, Energy and Environmental Technology Station (UJ PEETS). I am confident that this collaboration will train people to recycle, refurbish, and create meaningful items from e-waste, and ultimately turn e-waste into economic opportunity. To all those involved in this project, in particular to Professor Babusena Paul (Director: IIS); Ms. Nickey Janse van Rensburg (Lead: PEETS); and Ms. Daphney Nemakhavhani (Director: Development Office), congratulations!

I would also like to congratulate Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, Refilwe Phaswana-Mafuya, Faculty of Health Sciences, on her appointment as Director of the New Extramural Research Unit (EMU) of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). We are honored that the SAMRC/UJ Pan African Center for Epidemic Research (PACER) is established at UJ. Professor Phaswana-Mafuya’s research focuses on improving understanding of epidemics and pandemics using epidemiological and public health approaches. It is about conducting collaborative, multi-site, inter and multidisciplinary studies using new methods and approaches of scientific rigor for the generation of new knowledge and high quality data. The new SAMRC Extramural Research Unit will start operating from April 2022. Prof Phaswana-Mafuya, congratulations!

Along the same lines, please also join me in congratulating Professor Shireen Motala on the occasion of the inauguration of her SARChI Chair: Teaching and Learning. Professor Motala is a recognized researcher with an outstanding research record in the fields of schooling and higher education. His contributions to research on teaching and learning in higher education have been timely given today’s rapidly changing environment. This week, the Inaugural Kickoff Seminar under the theme Higher Education in the 4IR Era – Teaching and Learning Beyond COVID-19: Promise and Peril, provided much food for thought. Congratulations, Prof Motala and thank you for continuing to hold the UJ flag high!

More good news is that Professor Fiona Tregenna, SARChI in Industrial Development, UJ, and SARchi Professor of Practice Arkebe Oqubay has been appointed to the Trade and Industrial Development Advisory Council of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) . The Council is made up of eminent personalities from across the continent and was endorsed by the recent Summit of Heads of State and Government. They will advise on trade integration and industrialization across Africa, as well as the implementation of the AfCFTA. This is an exciting and important development for the continent – ​​well done!

Last week on this platform, I shared my perspective on the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war, where I highlighted the futility of the war and its destructiveness. This week, I wrote an opinion piece expanding my perspective on this issue. Please click here to read my ideas.

Also, last week I had the pleasure of sharing my academic background under the theme, ‘The beauties are not yet born, organized by the Division of Teaching Excellence. Starting with my early days at a small school in Duthuni, I tried to take the 107 UJ scholars who participated in a virtual journey from my home to Venda in London, to Cleveland USA, to Cambridge UK, to Pretoria, to Wits, and now to UJ. I have emphasized the need to read and think broadly, to be open to learning from others, and to write outside of your own discipline – both fiction and science – to accept mentoring others and being a mentor to those around you. As I answered questions, I reflected on how we at UJ are striving to create a new generation of ‘beauties’, inspiring the next generation of leaders and thinkers who will take Africa from South and the world into the future.

Back to COVID-19 questions, remember that employees must be complete

  1. Gauteng

vaccinated by March 15, 2022 (fully vaccinated does not include booster, if applicable), or have been approved for vaccination exemption. As for students, they must be fully vaccinated with March 31, 2022 or have been approved for vaccination exemption. Staff, postdoctoral fellows and students can upload their proof of vaccination to https://ulink.uj.ac.za/ujvac. Under “COVID-19 Services”, select “UJ Covid-19 Mandatory Vaccine Disclosure Facility”.

As stated last week, our University will have COVID-19 vaccinations taking place on three of our campuses, from March 7 to 30, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines will be available for individuals. The schedule is as follows:

  • DFC: Mondays – 7, 14, 21 and 28 March – A and B Atrium, John Orr Building (011 559-6544)
  • APK: Wednesdays – March 9, 16, 23 and 30 – Auditorium Foyer (011 559-3837)
  • SWC: Fridays – March 11, 18, 28 – Kopanong Foyer (011 559-5571)

NB: APB will be supported by APK.

For any additional information needed, please call the numbers provided for each campus.

For more information on the mandatory vaccination protocol, as well as assistance with vaccinations and downloading certificates, please visit our University website, www.uj.ac.za.

University management will continue to monitor the national and provincial outlook for COVID-19, and an update will be provided accordingly.This information can be verified by visiting:.http://www.uj.ac.za/covid-19If any of you have symptoms of coronavirus, please use the national hotline on 0800 029 999 or WhatsApp line 0600 123456 or go to the following link for more information:https://sacoronavirus.co.za/.

As usual, we call on everyone to respect the recommended precautionary, hygiene and physical distancing measures (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public) always.

Kea leboga, enkosi, dankie bay, ndi a livhuwa, thank you!

Issued by:

Professor Tshilidzi Marwala

Vice Chancellor and Principal

University of Johannesburg

The times mentioned in this newsletter refer toSouth African time zone.

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