Cape universities have recorded their first Covid-19 related death after UWC IT specialist Mogamat Amien Salie died at the weekend.
UWC spokesperson Gasant Abarder said that Salie, who was known fondly by many as “Linux Guru”, died on Saturday and at the time was working from home.
Salie was buried in line with Muslim rites.
This came a few days after the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) announced its first Covid-19 case after a District Six campus staff member tested positive while on special leave.
Six of the eight confirmed Covid-19 cases at UCT have recovered.
“Mr. Salie was working from home when he contracted the virus and was under lockdown at the time of his death and not on campus,” Abarder said.
“Only essential workers are currently allowed on campus. It is important to note that there has been one confirmed case of Covid-19 at the UWC campus.
“The academic has since recovered and all those in contact with the academic have been traced and tests confirmed negative,” he said.
UWC executive finance and services director Manie Regal said Salie was not only a colleague but a dear friend and mentor to many within his team.
“He was a dedicated member of the Student Laboratory Support team, often referred to as the Linux Guru. Sometimes even computer science professors would seek help from him.
He has been with UWC since 1997 and his colleagues remember him as someone who would stand up for those who were not always able to fight for themselves.”
Regal said despite challenging circumstances at times, Salie would go the extra mile and assist those who were less fortunate, while sometimes putting himself in a difficult position.
“He was known for being soft-spoken and caring in his approach. He will be sorely missed and we would like to express our sincerest condolences to his family and friends,” said Regal.
Meanwhile, UCT’s Nombuso Shabalala said the institution had established a four-phased approach to students’ return to campus. This would consider current state regulations governing health and safety risk management, and equity and fairness.
The approach comes after Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Blade Nzimande announced that only final-year medical students would be allowed to return to campus to access clinical platforms and complete their academic year.
“The first group will be final year medical students, then those students who the university believes are vulnerable, based on their ability to learn remotely under current conditions, among other considerations.
“The third group of students who will return to campus are those that may not be able to complete their academic year without being on campus, with access to laboratories and studios.
“Then the return of all other students to campus, but we will be guided by the national directives in this regard,” Shabalala said.
The Western Cape has recorded 10 558 Covid-19 cases and 4 363 recoveries. The province has recorded an additional 18 Covid-19 deaths, bringing the total number to 183.