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Damage to Science Faculty Buildings

Dear Staff and Students,

Today the Science Faculty executive had the opportunity to tour the HW Pearson Building with our affected colleagues, in order to understand the damage sustained and assess the impact on our staff and students. We want to send our condolences to two units in particular that sustained near total losses – the Plant Conservation Unit (PCU) and the Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa (iCWild). Although the rest of the building did not burn, there is extensive fire-related and especially water damage across multiple floors, and it is likely that the building will not return to full capacity until the end of the year. Both greenhouses also sustained some damage. We ask you to join in supporting our affected staff and students as we move forward in providing them with the assistance they need to continue with their research and teaching during this difficult time.

We also wish to acknowledge that the loss of the Jagger Reading Room, and the loss and relocation of many of its collections, also has a substantial effect on our faculty. Many of our colleagues depend on those resources, particularly those in disciplines that research the recent and deeper human past in Africa.

But all was not lost in the fire, and indeed there were many incredibly brave acts that kept it from being worse than it might have been. We thank those colleagues who played a role in keeping UCT buildings safe. We also wish to thank members of our faculty who have helped to recover materials from Jagger Library following the fire. It has been a difficult time, and your acts are deeply appreciated.

In solidarity,

Prof Maano Ramutsindela