UCT vice-chancellor on student safety and how the public can help

The Sarah Baartman hall at the University of Cape Town is surrounded by a haze of smoke after a fire destroyed parts of the campus on Sunday.
The Sarah Baartman hall at the University of Cape Town is surrounded by a haze of smoke after a fire destroyed parts of the campus on Sunday.
Image: Bruce Sutherland City of Cape Town

University of Cape Town vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng announced the suspension of academic activities following a runaway fire that destroyed several parts of the campus on Sunday.

In a communique to students and staff, Phakeng hoped that the campus community was “safe and well under these frightening circumstances”.

“In light of the fire affecting the Rondebosch campus of the University of Cape Town (UCT), and the impact this is having on the university’s buildings as well as the evacuation of residences, all academic activities will be suspended tomorrow and on Tuesday.

“No classes, tutorials, laboratory work or tests will take place on Monday, April 19 or Tuesday, April 20. We will assess the situation and provide further updates before midday on Tuesday.”

In the note, she said to ensure student and staff safety, the campus would only be accessible to emergency services.

She would not elaborate on the extent of the damage to the Rondebosch campus.

Phakeng said UCT had made food and emergency accommodation available for students who were evacuated.

She said trauma counselling was available for affected students and staff. The services can be contacted at the following numbers:

  • SA Depression and Anxiety Group: 080 024 2526
  • ICAS: 080 111 3945

The vice-chancellor said she was grateful to the public who had responded with donations. She also expressed gratitude to all the first responders and firefighters who had battled the blaze.

Donations may be made to:

UCT Donations Account

Bank: Standard Bank of South Africa

Branch code: Rondebosch Branch, 025009

Account number: 07 152 2387

Swift code: SBZAZAJJ

Please include your donor name if you so wish, as well as the reference for your donation, e.g. Name Surname, #UCTFire.

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