CORRECTION: Wits Vuvuzela erroneously attributed a comment to Daya Veerasamy in the print newsaper (29 August edition), who was never interviewed for this article. Wits Vuvuzela regrets the error which has been corrected in the copy below.
Students from Wits and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) are being threatened with eviction from university residences and student accommodation facilities due to outstanding tuition fees.
“My landlord locked me out my room and I had to kick down the door,” said Sboniso Mahlalose, a second year mining student at UJ. He stays at Bridgeview, in Braamfontein.
“I have to eat, study and sleep, and I had a project.”
Wits Vuvuzela knows of at least four students who have been told to move out of Braamfontein Centre. Some of them owe tuition fees, while others are behind on their monthly rent fees.
According to university management, a compulsory instalment of 20% is payable before admission to any Wits res and the remainder is due by the end of March that year.
Special arrangements can be made directly with the fees office, according to fees office information.
“Paying the fees off in instalments throughout the year is available to all students.”
Students who have entered into an instalment payment agreement with Wits and have fallen behind in their payments by the end of the first term, will have “forefeited his/her rights to further accommodation during the year,” according to a Fees Office booklet.
“I’ve had issues like this in the past,” said a Wits student from Braamfontein Centre, who has been asked to leave due to outstanding fees.
She asked not to be named as it was a “sensitive issue”.
If a student fails to pay the full amount of their fees by March 31, their exam results may be withheld and the student may not be admitted to any university residence during the following year.
Students do not feel they are supported by the university and the financial burden is becoming more difficult.
“If we cannot afford it, they must help us. Even if we owe fees, this does not mean they can or should kick us out,” said another student who has been asked to leave Braamfontein Centre.
He asked to remain anonymous until his fee issues had “been sorted out”.