Students without res accommodation have to look elsewhere.

By Onke Ngcuka

Wits students that did not get into res cannot count on
emergency accommodation from the university.

Esselen and Witwaters residence which were made available as
emergency accommodation in 2018 are not available in 2019.

Dean of Students Jerome September told Wits Vuvuzela that Esselen was no longer a Wits residence as of 2019.

“In 2018, the repurposing of Esselen was put on hold to
assist the university with emergency accommodation on a temporary basis. All
students initially allocated to Esselen were moved out in June 2018, and the
repurposing project continued,” September said.

The dean said that Esselen now belonged to the Wits
Reproductive Health Institute and functioned as a research centre. The
Witwaters residence belongs to the Gauteng provincial government and houses nursing
students.

Student Representative Council (SRC) president Sisanda
Mbolekwa told Wits Vuvuzela that as
the SRC, they were told by the university that the opening of the emergency
residences in 2018 was a once-off deal.

“Wits does not have infrastructure. A way forward would be
to raise funds to pay for a building or pay someone that has beds. Braamfontein
is surrounded by so many buildings,” Mbolekwa said.

First-year BEd student, Morongwa Rankoane, who is from
Lesifo, Limpopo, told Wits Vuvuzela
that she had applied for accommodation in a student residence in June 2018 but
was told that there was no space.

“I tried applying for emergency accommodation on Wednesday,
January 23. There were people assisting us that took my details and said they
would get back to me by Thursday, January 24. I didn’t receive a response so
that is why I came in today (January 25),” she said.

Rankoane said that she had tried looking for the accommodation
in Braamfontein but was told that she needed to present a letter of approval.

“I applied for the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme and was told
by the bursar that I would only receive the letter of approval in February/March.
I was able to register by waivering the registration fee,” she said.  

September said that the Wits Hardship Fund assisted students with funding towards accommodation. Applications for the Wits Hardship Fund closed on January 24.

FEATURED PHOTO: Esselen Residence will be used as a research centre by the
Wits Reproductive Health Institute and will no longer be available as emergency accomodation. Photo: File.