Wits students protest over accommodation

A protest over accommodation at Wits University's Yale Residence

Wits University's Student Representative Council (SRC) says the poor living conditions at some campus residences show vice chancellor Adam Habib's disregard for the well-being of students.

"The issues are related to accommodation, bus stops, Wi-Fi in the new residences as well as general student services". According to students, the cost for accommodation at the res is over R52 000.

University spokesperson Shirona Patel said the protest started at 07:30 on Thursday morning.

"As we were relocated from PKV and Esselen Street residence, we had reached an agreement with the university that we will be provided with the same services in the new residence", the memorandum read.

"The protest is peaceful although a tyre has been burnt‚ causing smoke at the entrance‚" the senior executive team said in a statement.

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Addressing students on Thursday, Sabelo Ngubeni, a member of Yale Village House Committee, said that students have been getting sick and needed to be taken to hospital as a result of the lack of cleaning services.

The SRC now says the affected students have been denied what they call basic services such as cleaning services and computer labs. The student says they occupied the fees office at the end of February and, because nothing happened from that action, they resorted to protesting today. They claim that when issues were raised with the university‚ they were sent from pillar to post. We have no WiFi, cleaning services, transport to campus at night.

Police are on standby and private security are also keeping an eye on the situation.

The memorandum, which was received by chief operations officer Fana Sibanyoni and Dean of Students Puleng LenkaBula, demands, among others, the removal of the Respublica facilities manager. Students gave the university until the end of the day to respond to their demands.

She warns that the accommodation issue is not something that can be addressed at this stage.

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