The University of Cape Town (UCT) has urged all its students to return home “as soon as possible”, prohibiting staff members from its buildings and ceasing all academic activities due to the 21-day lockdown.
This after President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night announced a countrywide lockdown starting on Thursday at midnight.
The lockdown was announced by the president as an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said the lockdown placed the university “in an unsustainable position and we require every student to return home as soon as possible”.
“As a result of the lockdown, no member of staff will be allowed in any UCT building, including residences in the event of an emergency. All academic activities, including research, will also cease. It is now a legal imperative that all residences must close. All students – including those who received prior approval to stay – must vacate UCT premises urgently and return home. Otherwise you will be in violation of the lockdown.
“All students must now leave the residences by 17:00 on Wednesday, 25 March. At that time all residences will be locked down, electronic access will be removed and Wi-Fi, electricity and water will be shut off.
“UCT will provide travel assistance for students unable to pay for their departure. We will engage with foreign embassies to ensure that international students can return safely to their countries as soon as possible.
“We are in an unprecedented moment, as the President said last night. We all carry a huge responsibility to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on our country.
“I, therefore, appeal to all members of the UCT community – staff and students – to do all that is necessary to support the country and one another in the time ahead.
“We are continuing to discuss how we will continue UCT’s necessary work as we enter the lockdown phase, but for now I urge you all to prepare for the deadline of Thursday, 26 March 2020.
“I thank all staff and students who are making the right decision to do all we can to “flatten the curve”. This crisis creates many anxieties and personal complexities for all of us, yet I see so many of you still doing your part to help all fellow citizens as we battle the impact of the pandemic on our country. You make me proud.”