All Western Cape Universities backed up for 2023

University of Cape Town among the universities that say load shedding has compelled them to come up with contingency plans. Picture: LEON LESTRADE

University of Cape Town among the universities that say load shedding has compelled them to come up with contingency plans. Picture: LEON LESTRADE

Published Feb 11, 2023


Cape Town - No load shedding formed against Western Cape universities will prosper as all universities confirm that their key buildings are backed up with generators.

The national energy crisis of load shedding has compelled Western Cape universities to consider additional measures as back up for the success of the 2023 academic year, as lectures commence on Monday.

University of the Western cape spokesperson Gasant Abarder confirmed that the university expects 25 000 students as the official commencement of lectures for the 2023 year begins on Monday.

Abarder said that the university has back up capacity in key venues. It is in the process of exploring additional measures to deal with load shedding.

Martin Viljoen of Stellenbosch University (SU) said the university is mindful and empathetic to the individual challenges their staff and students face due to the ongoing electricity crisis.

He said measures are in place to ensure that the university can complete each academic year successfully with as little disruption for students and staff as possible.

“Over the last few years, the university installed emergency power, more than 50 generators across all our campuses, in most of the academic and other essential buildings critical to ensure that learning, teaching, and research can continue uninterruptedly.

“These buildings are operational during load shedding for the duration of the academic day, from 6am to 6pm. Not all buildings are operational after hours. After hours, students have access to various buildings on campus that are fitted with emergency power, including study centres, the Library, computer-user areas, and facilities at the Jan Mouton Learning Centre, subject to these venues being used after hours for tests or exams.

“The university will also continue to create awareness among students on being informed about their assessment timetables, how the load shedding schedules might impact their preparation, and where applicable, to download study material.

“The SU Campus Security prioritises visible security for staff and students during the day, while increased patrolling occurs at night. A dedicated team manages the various stages of load shedding and monitors and implements the arrangements made for levels 6 and above,” he said.

Stellenbosch University expects 21 715 undergraduate students on Monday. Last year, 32 535 students studied at the institution.

UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola confirmed that lectures would commence on Monday at the institution. Moholola has said that the university has a number of measures to accommodate staff and students during load shedding in the 2023 academic year.

“The UCT leadership understands and acknowledges how stressful load shedding can be for students and staff. The UCT leadership continues looking at further interventions that could be implemented, both in the immediate and longer term.

“Some of the measures currently in place include: The university has a number of sites that have redundant power supplies (i.e. will have powered network points during load shedding). These include Masingene Building, School of Economics Building, Design School, School of Education, ICTS on Main, Institute of Child Health, Meulenhof Building, Sports Centre Building, Chemical Engineering Building, New Engineering Building, Environmental and Geographical Building, Computer Science Building, New Lecture Theatre, and Chancellor Oppenheimer Library,” he said.

Moholola said that the university residences are also backed up with generators, and those that are not fall in areas that are exempt from load shedding.

“Three UCT residences have UPS and generators set-up – Obz Square, Avenue Road Residence and Graça Machel Hall. A further six residences are on the Groote Schuur Hospital grid, and are therefore exempt from load shedding. These are Clarinus, Clarendon, Rochester, Groote Schuur Residence, Liesbeeck Gardens and Medres,” he said.

UCT is anticipating that just under 30 000 students will be registered at the university for 2023 across the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said that load shedding had not affected them during the registration period as all students were required to register online. Kansley also said that CPUT is equipped with generators in key buildings. 32 000 students are expected at CPUT in 2023.