Dear members of the Stellenbosch University (SU) community
How time flies! The new year is already a week old, so let me without
delay wish you all the best for 2021. This is no glib talk – if the last
12 months have taught us anything, it is to truly appreciate the
preciousness of life. May this year be
good to us all.
The University re-opened on Monday after the end-of-year break, and some
staff members and students are already hard at work. Others are making
the most of the opportunity to rest up some more for the year ahead,
which will no doubt be as demanding
as 2020 – if not more so.
Unfortunately, a number of staff, students and other members of the
extended University family have passed away over the holidays. We are
deeply saddened by all of these losses and wish to convey our heartfelt
sympathy to their loved-ones.
The coronavirus pandemic is still wreaking havoc the world over, and we
have not been spared its destructive effects. The good news is that a
number of vaccines have been developed (we are proud of SU’s
contribution to one of the trials;
click here to
read more), and we hope that South Africa will get equitable access
rather than later. In the meantime, though, let us remain vigilant and
observe all guidelines. Helping to halt the spread of COVID-19 should be
everyone’s main concern.
As I reported in December (click here),
our University did very well under difficult
circumstances in 2020. Thank you, again, to everyone for their selfless
contributions. And congratulations to all who succeeded against the
This year, our overarching priorities remain the same as last year – to
succeed with the academic project and to remain sustainable as a leading
As we said in spelling out the implications of the new Level 3 regulations for SU last week (click here),
we hope to resume all University activities to the fullest extent
possible as soon as we can – within the constraints posed by COVID-19,
of course. The health and
safety of our staff and students come first.
The new regulations are due to expire on 15 January, but as the
President indicated in his address on 28 December, the measures will be
reviewed at that time on the basis of the state of the pandemic in the
A meeting of SU’s Institutional Committee for Business Continuity (ICBC)
has been called for 18 January, so that we can carefully consider all
pertinent issues and take well-informed decisions on the way forward for
the University. Rest
assured that we will keep you posted.
None of us can foretell the future, but we can draw strength from
knowing that we will be there for each other, come what may. Let’s go
forward together, masiye pamphili, saam vorentoe!
Prof Wim de Villiers
Rector and Vice-Chancellor