Wits students protest over lack of accommodation

Johannesburg – On Wednesday Wits University students have vowed to bring the institution to a standstill, as they protested over a lack of housing.

  The demonstrators called on the institution to mobilise resources to create more accommodation for students.

   A Student Representative Council (SRC) led-march was making its way to the university’s medical school after demonstrators blocked the entrance on Empire Road.

  Student leader Freedom Tsotetsi called for immediate action to address what he said is a housing crisis.

  “We currently have students who sleep in labs and libraries. Some of them sleep at Park Station, and they come to campus in the morning after they have taken a shower in public toilets. We are protesting to say they must at least take these students and accommodate them, and then we will raise funds for them as the year goes,” he said.

  The issue of accommodation has been the source of frustration across campuses around the country, with some student leaders forced to sleep in the university’s library on Tuesday night.

  Protesting students were expected to converge at the institution’s medical campus in Parktown, before taking their demands to the main campus in Braamfontein.

  Wits University vice-chancellor Adam Habib accused the SRC of misrepresenting the facts around housing issues on campus.

He said the protestors were unfair and accused them of defaulting on an agreement signed by the SRC, which acknowledged the structural issues at the institution.

  Habib said R17 million in the form of a hardship fund was set aside to address the housing issues.

  “The vast majority of students who have problems with accommodation are people who have lost their NSFAS bursary. They lost the bursary because they failed more than two times, so NSFAS is no longer giving them a bursary, and they now demand that the university makes up,” Habib said.

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