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Access the mailbox of a person who left UCT

Staff members who leave UCT are encouraged to clear their Outlook mailbox before their last day (e.g. pass on work emails, cancel subscriptions to mailing lists, re-assign nicknames etc.). This is important as certain actions can only be done by the owner of the mailbox due to privacy rights.

However, a line manager may need to access a former employee's mailbox to perform various work-related actions. On request, the IT Helpdesk can assist line managers to carry out these actions, according to the UCT Policy and Rules on Internet and Email Use.

Some actions are permitted and can be carried out by ICTS.  However, other actions are not possible as they may contravene an individual's right to privacy and are therefore disallowed. Use the tables below to determine which actions are possible and which are not.


Actions that don't require permission 

No permission from the mailbox owner is necessary in order to request any of the following actions - simply contact the IT Helpdesk.

If you need to... Note the following: And then...
add or change an auto-reply message This can be done by adding an autoreply indicating that the staff member has left UCT and supplying the new contact address for work-related queries.

The automatic reply message will only be active for 90 days after the employee has left. After 90 days, the departed staff member's mailbox will be deleted according to UCT policy.
  1. Contact the IT Helpdesk.
  2. Specify which action is requested.
block a staff member's access to their mailbox This can be requested either pending a disciplinary hearing or as a result of a disciplinary hearing. The line manager needs to ensure that proper HR practices have been followed.
re-assign a nickname An existing nickname can be linked to another mailbox, so that all new mail is delivered to this new recipient.

Any emails that had already been delivered to the nickname before it was re-assigned cannot be accessed and forwarded without first obtaining the mailbox owner's permission.
transfer ownership of a calendar resource The calendar resource manager function can be transferred to another employee.
stop the forwarding of messages to an external email address The forwarding of messages from the former staff member's mailbox to an external mailbox can be stopped. On request, an automatic reply can be added to inform future correspondents that the person is no longer at UCT.


Action(s) that require permission from the mailbox owner

Specific permission is required and processes must be followed as dictated by the UCT Policy and Rules on Internet and Email Use.

If you need to... Note the following: And then...
temporarily access the former staff member's mailbox (once-off action)

Temporary access to a former staff member's mailbox may be arranged following receipt of permission from either

  • the mailbox owner,
  •  their estate (if deceased), or
  • the Vice Chancellor's office, following the process outlined in Section 3 of the UCT Policy and Rules on Internet and Email Use
  • This may be done to recover business-related emails only.
  1. Request the necessary permission.
  2. Once permission is obtained, contact the IT Helpdesk.
  3. Request the required action.
  4. Recover the business-related emails.


Actions that cannot be serviced

In order to protect UCT against claims of violating an individual's privacy rights or the system's integrity, the following actions cannot be carried out.

If you need to... Note the following:
forward the former staff member's email to another individual This is not possible. Forwarding of a staff member's email to another person's mailbox cannot be done as it contravenes an individual's right to privacy.

access a previously accessed shared folder This is not possible. Access to a folder shared by the mailbox owner will continue to be available to those it is shared with for 90 days after the staff's departure date. After 90 days the mailbox is deleted, together with the shared folder. If the mailbox owner removes the shared rights before leaving UCT, access cannot be re-instated. If the content of the shared folder is business-related, it can be obtained by following the temporary access process.