The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology, Mr Philly Mapulane, has noted with regret the blazing fire that has damaged the University of Cape Town's (UCT's) buildings, including a Rhodes Memorial library and a building that accommodates students and leaving about 4 000 students without accommodation.
Mr Mapulane said: "We would like to take this opportunity and send the committee's words of solidarity and empathy to the entire university community during this very difficult time. We are calling upon the City of Cape Town's fire fighters and other fire-fighting authorities to do their level best in extinguishing the fire. The committee further calls on society to lend a helping hand and provide assistance in the form of food and other support to the university and to students during this difficult time."
The committee has noted media reports that a suspected arsonist has been apprehended by the police. We call on the law enforcement agencies to leave no stone behind in investigating the cause of this fire that has left so much devastation in its path and has not only damaged property, but has also grossly affected the university's 2021 academic programme.
According to the university's spokesperson, the fire has also destroyed a building where archives were kept. What is very painful about the archives is that they are irreplaceable. The university will only know the full impact of the tragedy once a proper assessment has been done.
"Our thoughts are with the university community, particularly the 4 000 displaced students during these trying times," concluded Mr Mapulane.