Students accommodations prices are set to increase 2019.

Students who intend to stay in student accommodation around Braamfontein should brace themselves for potentially higher rentals in 2019.

On Tuesday, September 18, Wits students who are South Point residents, along with the Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) took to the streets of Braamfontein against a rumoured 15% hike in rent for South Point residences for next year.

South Point management refuted this rumour saying their internal processes regarding 2019 prices had not yet commenced.

Although South Point refuted the 15% rental increment for next year, the student accommodation company confirmed that an increase should be expected. According to its spokesperson, Nyiko Chauke, this is due to economic issues the country is facing such as value added tax, rates, water, electricity and workers’ wage increases.

“Rental increases are driven by a number of factors including cost inflation as well as workers’ wage increases among other factors,” Chauke added.

South Point stated that returning students who are currently residents will be informed in December how much more they are going to pay when they return in the new year.

A Wits BSc student and South Point resident who asked not to be named out of fear of victimisation, said she was considering moving to the township next year because she was currently receiving inadequate services.

“I’m currently sharing my room with someone here [in South Point] and the room is very small but I am paying a lot of money. We don’t have a computer centre inside the residence and the WiFi we get is capped. I’m currently weighing my options and it seems like I’ll be moving to the township next year,” she said.

Speaking about South Point, Wits SRC spokesperson Sandla Mtotywa said, “Students pay exorbitant prices to get services but they are not getting up-to-standard services. Students don’t even get uncapped WiFi yet students are paying more than Wits res prices. It doesn’t make sense and it needs to change now before the 2019 academic year.”

Wits University is yet to announce its 2019 prices for accommodation. Dean of students Jerome September told Wits Vuvuzela that the university was currently consulting with relevant stakeholders.

“The setting of increases for 2019 to address annual inflation and long-term sustainability challenges are being considered in engagements that are under way with various relevant stakeholders within the university and with external parties. No decisions have yet been taken. Final decisions will only be made at the November Council meeting,” September said.

Dikeledi Phiri, a Wits student who resides at Wits Sunnyside res, said she wouldn’t be affected much by the increases if they came into effect because her studies and accommodation are funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

“It’s highly likely that the university is going to increase its res prices because this year the price of everything went up. Even though I won’t be affected by the increase because I am funded by NSFAS, I’m affected by the price of food and many other things,” the 19-year-old said.

Another privately owned student accommodation company, Student Diggz, confirmed to Wits Vuvuzela that as of September 1, their rentals had increased by R300.

A student who stays in a single unit is now paying R4 020 for a room which cost R3 720 a month ago. Students sharing a room are now paying R3 550 per month each, up from R3 250.

Citiq Students, a private student accommodation company based in Braamfontein, also confirmed that it would be reviewing its prices in October. The company said the price increase for next year was unavoidable, but promised that the increase would be fair and reasonable. Their single room currently costs R3 600 per month and double room costs R2 950 per student, per month.

Mtotywa said the SRC was against any increment as most students were already suffering financially. The SRC is currently engaging with university management on these issues.

FEATURED IMAGE: South Point residents and SRC members took to the streets of Braamfontein on Tuesday, September 18, to protest against 2019 rental hikes. Photo: Takalani Sioga