South Point is closing several buildings in Braamfontein for the rest of the 2021 academic year.
Students have voiced concerns about their safety after their private accommodation owners moved them from a women-only residence to a mixed one on Friday, May 14.
Some have accused South Point management of being in breach of the contracts they signed when their parents dropped them off at 90 De Korte at the beginning of the academic year, only to be moved to 56 Jorissen a few months later.
“With the level of gender-based violence in our country, students are scared. If someone gets raped or sexually harassed here, we are worried that South Point is not even going to be able to help,” a student who asked not to be named told Wits Vuvuzela.
In emails sent on May 12, South Point told residents the move to the building less than 300m away was necessary in order “ to consolidate our partially-full residences so as to streamline our operations”.
The 90 De Korte management acknowledged concerns raised by students about contract cancellation, electricity vouchers, and their safety, and promised those would be addressed in the new terms of the lease agreement that would be communicated in writing on May 14. However, according to the student who spoke to Wits Vuvuzela, no update had been communicated.
The private accommodation management also promised “as a token of our appreciation, South Point will provide a R1 500 shopping voucher to each student as he/she finalises the new lease”.
Students who do not want to move to 56 Jorissen are not required to pay the cancellation fee of R17 000, as stipulated in the contract. How long they are permitted to reside at 90 De Korte and when they will receive a refund has not been stipulated.
The admin team from South Point assisted the 90 De Korte residents with paperwork and moving on Friday. Each student received two boxes for packing, and trucks were provided to transport heavy belongings such as fridges.
According to the Wits Vuvuzela source, the primary difference between the two residences is that 56 Jorissen utilises prepaid electricity, whereas at 90 De Korte electricity was included in the fixed monthly rent. “South Point said they will give us vouchers of R450, which will cover [electricity usage for] the whole month,” the student said.
South Point Johannesburg told Wits Vuvuzela that they were too busy with moving the students and would only respond to questions on Monday, May 17. Instead they forwarded a FAQ document which explained that 90 De Korte is one of the few designated residences experiencing temporary closure which “needs to be finalised by May 28”.
“We have worked hard to minimise the number of students impacted, but we will need to temporarily close a few of our buildings for the 2021 academic year,” the document read.
Wits Vuvuzela will update this story once feedback has been received from South Point management.
FEATURED IMAGE: South Point provided trucks to move student belongs from 90 De Korte to 56 Jorissen. Photo: Provided
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