Residents of Esselen Residence occupied Residence Life Offices in Park Town, with a memorandum of grievance, on Friday.
According to the House committee members, Head of Residence life Rob Sharman made various promises and one of them include a resolution about the building next to Esselen and the closing of Esselen Street, after a shooting that occurred last year in Esselen.
“Last year there was a shooting, even Habib and Pamela Dube came to Esselen to listen to us, but nothing has been done since then” said Thero Montwedi, Vice-Chairperson of the house committee.
Precious Maseto told Wits Vuvuzela that “the problem is not Hillbrow, but the building next to Esselen” she said “that building is dirty, their sewage system passes through Esselen”.
Florence building making life for Esseleners, a living hell
According to the students, Florence building (the building next to Esselen residence) has made their living conditions a living hell and their study environment very unfavourable.
“The environment is not conducive for learning, in the study room there’s sewage dropping from the building from next-door” said Montwedi “I don’t know if it’s because we are staying in Hillbrow that we are subjected to such conditions, we are also Wits Res Students” he said.
Luyanda Mgidlana said “the main problem is the building at the back, the sewage and the crime comes with it”.
When the memorandum was being read out to Sharman, house members started shouting, showing their dissatisfaction with the fact that it did not include the inconveniencies caused by the new bus schedule.
Dissatisfaction with bus service
“I Esselen ayinama Directi!” shouted one person from the crowd, saying Esselen has no direct bus.
Majority of the students are Education students and the new bus system has caused a lot of inconveniences.
“The bus picks up people from Education campus, drop them at Esselen then goes to Amic Deck, after it picked up people at Esselen, rather than going back to Education Campus again” said Lerato, Esselens safety and security officer.
Head of Residence life, Sharman has refused to issue a public statement.
He said “it would be ethically unwise to make a public statement, until we have responded in writing to the students on their memorandum”
The Chairperson of All Resident Council (ARC) and Esselen, Mxolisi Sopiseka told Wits Vuvuzela that the purpose of the march was to make students aware of Esselen and its problems, as it is not an Esselen Problem but a residence issue.
“Students get affected, whether they stay at Esselen or not” he said “you find people who get excluded at Junction and Noswal moving to Esselen”.
“Even those who stayed at Esselen for four years, if you ask them if they applied to Esselen one thing you would find that is common is that they never applied” he said “we all went to Esselen because of circumstances”.
SRC President Mcebo Dlamini, addressed the residence of Esselen and said “we are told it is a privilege to be at University, thus we must obey?” he said “enough is enough, this is not a protest but a rock up”.