UCT VC Phakeng says restoration process on fire-damaged buildings in full swing

UCT Vice-Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng says with the academic programme back on track, the only students who have been disrupted are the biological sciences students, as they lost their experiments in the fire.

Inside UCT's Jagger Reading Room that was gutted by a fire on 18 April 2021. Picture: Shamiela Fisher/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - Restoration at the University of Cape Town remains in full swing following last month's devastating fire.

A fire that ignited at the Rhodes Memorial Restaurant on 18 April rapidly spread to the adjacent university and destroyed several academic and historical buildings.

UCT Vice-Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng said that with the academic programme back on track, the only students who had been disrupted were the biological sciences students, as they had lost their experiments in the fire.

WATCH: Cape Town Fires: The remnants of UCT's Jagger Library’s Reading Room

“We are busy with checking how many they are, what they've lost, what it would take to get them back on track so that we can start them [on that]. For some, it’s inevitable that they will have an extra year. But the students who are using the Jagger Library we have our partners from universities overseas who have made the materials available so that students can continue,” Phakeng said.

The Jagger Library basement has been drained of all water, and all salvaged materials were busy being restored.

“In the Biological Sciences Building we are preparing the building for repair, we have a construction company on site and they'll be starting repairs soon. We are hoping that by July we’ll be done with the Biological Sciences Building so that it can be occupied,” Phakeng added.

Forty-eight students from the Smuts and Fuller residences remain housed in hotels until their rooms are refurbished.

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