Students who moved into a new Wits residence had a nasty surprise when they learned they would have to pay for their own electricity.

Noswal Hall, located on Stiemens street in Braamfontein, opened as a student residence this year on February 1.

Students who expected to be offered the same services as other residences were left disappointed when they found out, upon moving in, that they would have to pay for their own electricity.

Tshepisang Mkhize, 3rd year BSc, told Wits Vuvuzela that if she had known she  would have to pay for her electricity, she would not have moved into Noswal.

“They’re giving us 150 units every month, and when that runs out we have to pay for it ourselves,” she said.

Mkhize said it would be difficult for bursary students to get money for electricity from their sponsors.

“Now we have to ask our parents for money and we’re already self-catering,” she said.

Wits Vuvuzela contacted the office of Wits Residence Life head Rob Sharman for comment but he did not reply.

That was not the only surprise Mkhize had when she moved in. On Saturday evening, Mkhize’s bachelor suite was flooded for four hours, after water came up through her shower drain.

“I heard a funny noise from the drain after my shower but I didn’t think anything of it because it always happened,” she said.

The dirty water, which had a “pungent smell that reeked through the bathroom”, soon spilled into her living space and around her bed.

According to Mkhize, plumbers had frequented the residence throughout the week as a lot of students in her wing had had problems with their toilets or showers.

In addition to the plumbing and electricity problems, Mkhize said she was unhappy with the size of her room and its layout.

“You have more space for your dishes than for your clothes, and there is a fridge in the cupboard,” she said.

Another resident, 3rd year LLB Gugu Khoza, shared Mkhize’s sentiments and had believed that Noswal would be a cushier residence like Wits Junction.

“It was quite underwhelming,” Khoza said.

[pullquote]”I heard a funny noise from the drain after my shower but I didn’t think anything of it because it always happened”[/pullquote]

Despite Noswal not meeting her expectations, Khoza still said that it was an improvement from her previous residence which was run by a private company.

She particularly liked the view of northern Johannesburg from her room on the 15th floor.

“It’s really beautiful especially at night,” she said.

Khoza’s roommate, third-year BSc Busi Mncube, said that she was content with the residence.

“Considering the fact that they worked as fast as they could so that we could move in now, they did a good job even though there’s a lot of stuff that still needs to be fixed,” Mncube said.

The gym facilities are still under construction, and students do not have access to the basement parking as yet, as ICAM is still processing student access to the res and the parking.

In the meantime, Mncube is parking her car at Men’s Res. Though she has to walk to Noswal at night, she feels safe because it is close to main campus and there is security.

“It’s the closest to campus and the security guards are quite strict,” she said.

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