By Phumi Ramalepe
NSFAS students sign petition for university to reconsider decision.
The University of Johannesburg has rejected South Point’s 2019 accreditation application after the property company failed to fulfil certain requirements by the university’s policy on privately-owned accommodation.
The policy stipulates that, “Rooms should be furnished with lockable closets, single bed steel or wooden frames including mattress/sponge, study desk, chair, bookshelf, study lamp, panel heater and paper bin.”
The policy further states that the kitchen of each ‘Subscribing Service Provider’ should have “a minimum provision of cold storage, 210 litres per five students”.
After the 2019 inspection, the two Braamfontein South Point buildings (Norvic and KSI) previously accredited by U J since 2004 were deemed not to meet the requirements due to the absence of panel heaters and fridges.
Executive Head of Precinct Development at South Point, Josef Talotta, told Wits Vuvuzela that, “In 2011, [UJ] gazetted new norms and standard criteria (introducing communal refrigerators and panel heaters) for its accreditation partners…we were not accredited for 2019, in spite of previous approvals against the same criteria.”
Last year, South Point “housed approximately 450 students as a UJ-accredited housing provider”, according to Talotta.
Some of those students circulated a petition last week to have UJ reconsider its decision not to accredit South Point. By January 31, the petition had garnered 90 signatures.
Mpho Stephen, a third-year LLB student who has been staying at South Point for two years said, “I helped distribute the petition because we want a place to stay. We are also trying to tell [UJ] our story. Everybody has a right to be heard,” said Stephen.
UJ students who are funded by NSFAS say they are dismayed by UJ’s decision as they did not have to pay for top-ups and a deposit at South Point before signing their leases.
“I went to J1 (a private accommodation property in Braamfontein) and there is space but…now I have to pay R3 750 for deposit. Imagine the strain I have to put on my parents. I wouldn’t have to pay for deposit at South Point while on NSFAS,” said Mpho Khosa, a third-year Film and Television student at UJ.
South Point is appealing UJ’s decision, according to Talotta.