Accommodation a sore point at E Cape institutions

Five students sharing a bed in one of the residences at Fort Hare University in East London. Photo supplied.

Accommodation problems at some institutions of higher learning in Eastern Cape have affected learning and teaching.

East London, South Africa

Lack of accommodation for students continues to negatively affect teaching and learning in some institutions of higher learning in the Eastern Cape. Classes have been affected at the East London campus of Fort Hare University and there have been protests around accommodation at Walter Sisulu University (WSU).

And at the Buffalo City College’s (BCC) John Knox Bokwe campus, students clashed with police after protests. The angry students allegedly damaged a police car  during their protest at the campus situated in Mdantsane. Four students were rushed to hospital after being injured as a result.

The students highlight that their number one demand is that management answers their questions on accommodation, which has not been properly allocated until now.

Student leader Catherine Mangope-Moji said they need residence issues to be sorted before teaching and learning can commence swiftly. “We want the school management to assist students with accommodation and transport for now. However, there are other administrative issues within the college,” said Mangope.

“Even our outgoing SRC structure informed management about our accommodation woes, but we have not received anything tangible.”

In January the college was visited by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher Education to assess its state of readiness for the 2018 academic year. The committee was adamant that it was all systems go, but accommodation issues seem to have become worse for BCC, WSU and the University of Fort Hare.

Principal of Buffalo City TVET college in a red tie with members of the parliamentary committee during their visit in January this year. Picture supplied.

Two campuses of WSU have also halted learning since Tuesday as a demonstration by students posed possible strike action over accommodation. These are the Buffalo City and Mthatha campuses of the university.

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SRC president at the Mthatha campus, Zuko Mxolisi spoke to Elitsha and confirmed that classes have been stopped since last week Monday due to the fact that students have not been allocated accommodation.

WSU spokesperson, Yonela Thukwayo says they are aware that students are not happy with how residences are allocated.

“Students have been complaining about the system used to allocate residence and said it’s unfair. We discovered that there are corrupt individuals within those who were handling the allocation process,” said Thukwayo.

At the University of Fort Hare, accommodation issues have not been fixed yet. Lectures have commenced, however, at the East London campus.


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About Chris Gilili 62 Articles
Chris Gilili, a 23 year old freelance journalist based in East London. Graduated from Walter Sisulu University media studies school in 2015. Had a stint with Independent Media, in sports writing. Passionate about news and the media.