Classes at UCT to resume next week

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Firefighters battle the blaze at the HM Pearson, Fuller and Jagger Library buildings at the University of Cape Town’s Rondebosch campus on Sunday 18 April.
Firefighters battle the blaze at the HM Pearson, Fuller and Jagger Library buildings at the University of Cape Town’s Rondebosch campus on Sunday 18 April.

The academic programme at the University of Cape Town (UCT) will resume on Monday 26 April after it confirmed today (Tuesday 20 April) it was suspending its academic programme until Friday 23 April.

This decision follows the emergency evacuation of students from residences at the Rondebosch campus on Sunday 18 April as the fire, which broke out close to Rhodes Memorial earlier that morning, crept closer. 

A few hours after the evacuation, images posted on Facebook showed flames engulfing the HM Pearson, Fuller and Jagger Library buildings at the University of Cape Town’s Rondebosch campus. 

According to an internal communication leaked to Radio 786 yesterday morning (19 April), UCT’s executive director of libraries Ujala Satgoor said that the reading room in one of its libraries on the upper campus was completely gutted. 

Satgoor said that while some valuable collections had been lost, the fire detection system in place triggered the fire shutters, preventing the spread of the fire to other parts of the library.

On Sunday, UCT arranged emergency accommodation for evacuated students at undisclosed locations. 

This morning, UCT vice-chancellor Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng said the department of student affairs would start managing the movement of students back to their residences from their emergency accommodation on Wednesday 21 April.“The assessment of the damages and the need to clean residences and academic buildings means that the academic programme at UCT will be suspended until Friday, 23 April,” said Phakeng.

According to UCT, the faculties will each manage the lost week in terms of the curriculum and will communicate with their students about scheduled tests and assignments.

Phakeng thanked both the UCT community and the public for the support offered and hard work put in during this devastating period.

“On behalf of the leadership of UCT, I would like to convey my gratitude for the commitment you have all shown and the help that you are all giving in the interests of the university.”

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