DJ Du Plessis Building on West Campus has become the centre of a controversy over its state of disrepair – and who is responsible for fixing it.
The building has become the classic example of an apple rotten at the core. Externally the building looks polished but inside, things are falling apart. Last semester, Wits Vuvuzela published a story on the student clubs and societies who were disgruntled about being moved to the building from the Matrix.
Despite the state of the building, clubs have started moving in. Doors have fallen off their hinges and there is graffiti on the white walls. The word “sex” has been spray-painted across one wall in yellow. Some students said used condoms were regularly found on the floors.
The Planet Khamanani Club’s office in room 23 has a collapsed ceiling with several gaping holes in it. Lecture Theatre MPT and Tutorial Room MPB02 have broken down doors. The whiteboard in the tutorial room has holes in it and the room has a musty smell from the dirty carpet. One of the few things in good condition is the PIMD notice instructing people to call them for repairs.
The SRC posted on their Twitter and Facebook accounts allegations that “P.I.M.D fails to maintain buildings in our University. They only react when it’s falling down already. No plan or system to monitor.”
Joe Nembudani from PIMD said it was not their policy to repair unoccupied buildings, since this was a waste of money. He said he had asked SRC Head of Clubs Tokelo Nhlapo for a list of the rooms being used.
“I spoke to Tokelo Nhlapo and he was supposed to give us a list of the things that need attention so that we could give them a quotation before proceeding with repairs. We are still waiting for SRC to get back to us.”
Nhlapo, however, said he had given Nembudani keys to rooms that needed fixing almost two months ago.
“It’s PIMD’s job to routinely fix things that are broken down. I went with Nembudani’s colleague, Marius, to DJ Du Plessis building during the first week of opening, and got a very expensive quotation afterwards, almost R50 000. SRC doesn’t have that kind of money. The university must assist us.”
In response, Nembudani said he had no knowledge of Nhlapo’s problems, since he had not come back to him with a complaint, or to negotiate.
He said the university would fix windows, doors and ceilings but, if a tenant was unhappy with the paint and floor, that was their responsibility.