Rhodes statue might end up back at UCT

After months of protests aimed at removing the controversial statue of Cecil John Rhodes at the University of Cape Town (UCT), the structure could end up back on campus.

This is if an application for the statue’s permanent removal is not lodged with the Heritage Western Cape (HWC) within 90 days. The HWC has issued a temporary permit for its removal, however the university is required to submit a separate application for its permanent removal.

UCT spokesperson Thami Nkwanyane told the Cape Argus the university had miscalculated the number of days left for public comment.

“We commenced the process of public consultation immediately thereafter, but the interested and affected parties raised concerns that this would not allow sufficient time for commenting on the draft heritage statement. To promote better administrative justice and ensure a thorough public consultation process, where a two-phase public consultation process would be accommodated, a decision was taken on April 22 to extend the 90-day time frame to 150 days from the date of the permit,” he said.

The university applied to the HWC for a 30-day extension in June to give them time to consider the implications of the draft guidelines.

“In terms of this, an application for an extension was submitted to HWC on July 8, and on August 4 the committee agreed to further extend the deadline from 150 days to 180 days. During finalising the draft heritage statement, it became evident, through a miscalculation, that fewer than 30 days remained for public comment on the statement,” said Nkwanyane.

UCT has requested an extension of the deadline to apply for a permanent removal of the statue, and asked for public comments to be opened until 20 October so that no party was disadvantaged.

“The HWC has agreed to permit this extension for the reasons provided,” said Nkwanyane.

The statue was removed following a decision by the UCT’s council in April following a month-long protest by students calling for transformation.

photo credit: Cecil John Rhodes looking over Cape Town via photopin (license)

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