Posted on September 11, 2020

Mid-year performance reviews

The purpose of this communique is to commend UP staff members who have completed their mid-year performance reviews and to remind staff members that the due date for mid-year performance reviews was set for July 2020. As such, it is expected that most mid-year performance conversations have been finalised.

All UP employees who have yet to finalise their mid-year performance reviews are encouraged to have conversations with their line managers to complete this process by 15 September 2020 at the latest. The sole aim of these reviews is to facilitate more frequent, meaningful performance conversations and ultimately drive performance excellence.

Conducting successful mid-year performance evaluations take preparation, dedication, and commitment.

Please note the following tips to enhance your level of preparedness.

  • Plan ahead. Put time aside in your schedule to complete your self-evaluation in preparation for a performance dialogue with your manager.
  • Do your homework. Gather information about objectives set earlier in the year, your job responsibilities, and documentation such as status reports to check on your progress. This will help you show concrete examples of how you are actively moving towards achieving those objectives.
  • Take responsibility for your professional growth. The University endeavours to enable staff members to advance their careers, while staff members are also encouraged to take responsibility for their own career development.

Please remember to consult your HRBP on any other queries relating to performance management processes, procedures and practices.

Ms. Sithembile Mbuyisa, Director: Department of Human Resources


Update on the move to level 2 of the COVID-19 risk adjustment

Since the last communication to UP students covering the move to level 2 of the COVID-19 risk adjustment on 19 August, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation has made a few announcements during a media briefing, including the return of first-year students to campus. In line with the guidelines approved by the Department, the University will continue to invite students to return to campus in a phased process as set out below.

As mentioned in the last communication, while the guidelines allow for an additional 33% of students and staff to return (up to a total of 66%), gatherings of more than 50 people are still prohibited, which unfortunately means that we remain unable to resume contact classes. Online classes will therefore remain the main mode of teaching and learning this semester, which ends on 13 November 2020.

The following students will be prioritised by their respective faculties to return to campus:

  • Final-year and post-graduate students who require access to laboratories, technical equipment, studios and other facilities on campus in order to complete their courses
  • First-year and other students who are experiencing ongoing difficulties with Internet connectivity and who do not have the necessary access to Internet-enabled devices
  • First-year and other students whose home environments are not conducive to studying

Students in these categories should make contact with their faculties as soon as possible to apply for permission and the necessary permits to return to their campuses. Once they have received approval from their faculties, students living in residences will be notified if they can also return to residence.

Returning to the University’s campuses does not mean contact classes will resume. It simply means that students will be able to use the Wi-Fi on our campuses and in residences to continue with their online studies.


Once examinations start on 16 November and if the country is still on lockdown level 2, some faculties may invite students who are part of certain programmes to attend mandatory pre-examination sessions and invigilated examinations on campus. This will happen with due regard to the required health and safety regulations. For the remaining students, examinations will take place online. More information will be sent to students by their faculties closer to the time.

Take care and stay safe.

Tawana Kupe, Vice-Chancellor and Principal


Announcement: Javett Art Centre reopens on Heritage Day

The Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria (Javett-UP) will reopen on Heritage Day, 24 September 2020, at 10am.

The art centre, which exhibits the work of only African artists, has been closed for six months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Javett-UP is home to three signature exhibitions: the National Treasures exhibition; All in a Day’s Eye: The Politics of Innocence in the Javett Collection; and 101 Collecting Conversations: Signature Works of a Century. Javett-UP is the only place where all these works can be viewed in the same place, at the same time, making this a rare and wonderful opportunity for anyone that is interested in South African art, history, heritage and stories.

Javett-UP has put extensive protocols in place to safeguard staff and visitors against COVID-19. Please note, booking is essential in order for Javett-UP to maintain the maximum number of 50 visitors allowed within the art centre as per COVID-19 regulations.


Announcement: 2020 Spring Graduation Ceremonies

The University of Pretoria’s 2020 Spring Graduation Ceremonies, which were scheduled to take place from 29 September to 2 October 2020, will be conducted virtually, and all the qualifications listed in the graduation programmes will be conferred and awarded in absentia, during a legal congregation of the University. This ceremony will be available for online viewing by graduates, family and friends, and a recording of the event as well as a programme will be shared with graduates on the day of their graduation.

Once the restrictions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic have been lifted, the University plans to host traditional graduation ceremonies in 2021, at which loved ones can attend to witness the graduates crossing the stage in their full academic regalia, and official photographs can be taken. The University will communicate the details of the traditional ceremonies once the restrictions on gatherings are lifted.

Graduates will also, in due course, receive further communication from the University to inform them of the arrangements that are being put in place for them to access their qualifications, official academic transcripts, and official graduation programmes.

We thank you for your understanding during these extremely difficult times that the University, South Africa and the world are facing.

Prof Carolina Koornhof, Executive Director


The Department of Political Sciences invites you to a panel discussion on the topic the Decolonisation of universities in the era of COVID-19

Covid-19 has become a focus of change encompassing deep questions around the future of higher education in a context of growing societal divisions. Black Lives Matter, inequality and inequity, the social contract binding universities and societies, the marketisation of universities, the values underpinning education, issues of inclusion and exclusion, a range of pedagogical questions and the nature of and need for social justice have been brought into stark relief during the global pandemic.

Dr Sithembile Mbete will moderate a discussion on these questions with panellists Prof Tawana Kupe (vice-chancellor and principal of the University of Pretoria), Prof ‘Funmi Olonisakin (deputy vice-chancellor for internationalisation of King’s College, London and extraordinary professor at UP), Prof Kiven James Kewir (African Leadership Centre Nairobi and University of Yaounde, Cameroon) and two students in the Department, Adam Louw and David Kabwa.

The focus will be on five markers of change, viz. positionality, intersectionality, fair representation, diversified pedagogical practices and the systematic de-hierarchising of identities in assessing progress on reducing inequalities.

 Date and time: Wednesday 16 September 14.00 to 15.30 (SAST)


RSVP by Friday 11 September

Enquiries: Ms Jane Mampane ([email protected])

The Department of Political Science




- Author Jimmy Masombuka

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