Wits SRC partners with Dunwell Properties to alleviate the accommodation crisis
Student leaders have secured at least 300 beds for scholar without a roof.
The Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) has managed to secure 300 beds for students who have been without accommodation since the beginning of the academic year.
This comes after the SRC’s meeting with Dunwell Properties’ COO Thando Cele on April 19, to try resolve the Wits accommodation crisis. A deal was then struck to provide beds for students that are without a roof.
In a written response to Wits Vuvuzela, Cele said that “the deal was initiated by Dunwell’s drive to participate in solutions to resolving student accommodation challenges.”
The SRC said in a tweet on Wednesday, May 17 that “the first 180 NSFAS appealing students have been successfully allocated beds and the remaining 120 beds will be issued as per the increase in demand from affected students.”
The deal comes after students protested at the beginning of the year over financial exclusion and accommodation. The student protests were fuelled by the NSFAS R45 000 accommodation cap as well as the lack of response to students that are appealing their funding status. The cap was instituted as a way to manage price fixing and profiteering by private providers, this is according to higher education minister Dr Blade Nzimande.
Karabo Matloga, SRC compliance officer, told Wits Vuvuzela that Dunwell Properties reached out to them and said they have beds. They then agreed in the meeting to accommodate all the NSFAS students, including those that are appealing.
Dunwell will offer accommodation to students who have appealed for NSFAS and are still awaiting their respective outcomes, students will be able to reside at our building without confirmation of funding”, emphasized Cele.
Matloga, added that “this mechanism is mainly to reduce the pressure from the ‘hardship fund’ so that the university can focus on students that are not NSFAS funded and are not funded by bursaries.” The hardship fund is established by the university to assist students with financial assistance and accommodation based on their socio-economic circumstances.
Students were seen sleeping in libraries and in labs while waiting for NSFAS’ decision on the appeal process.
A third-year accounting science student, who did not want to be named said, “I was struggling a lot, it was affecting me bad mentally and I felt isolated because I was sleeping in a lab.” “I was also struggling academically”, he added.
FEATURED IMAGE: Wits students walking into Dunwell offices to sign their leases after receiving communication from the SRC. Photo: Sbongile Molambo
- Wits Vuvuzela, 450 Witsies in limbo about NSFAS funding appeals April 2023.
- Wits Vuvuzela, Wits SRC: Students cannot be displaced on our watch, March 2023.
- Wits Vuvuzela, Wits NSFAS students left hanging, September 2017.