Maritzburg Sun (South Africa)
SRC assists stranded UKZN students find accommodation
The UKZN Student Representative Council (SRC) has assisted 250 students with finding accommodation, after students resorted to camping outside the Pietermaritzburg campus for over a week, due to accommodation shortages.
Some of the students had travelled from as far as Nseleni and arrived at the campus as early as February, believing they had a place in residence, only to find they had not been allocated a place in the university’s residences. Many students, who are funded by NSFAS, could not afford alternate accommodation, or the travel costs to return home, and had resorted to camping outside the university’s main entrance in the hopes their plight would be attended to.
UKZN Student Representative Council (SRC) president Malusi Zuma said the SRC assisted the students in finding private accommodation. “The SRC worked with clubs and societies to ensure all the students who were stranded got accommodation.”
He said that the SRC had received reports of around 250 students that were left stranded.
“Adequate accommodation for all the residents was not provided for, which is why there is an imbalance. Students cannot study at home as there are network coverage issues and they prefer residences,” Zuma said.
Meanwhile, yesterday morning (Tuesday), a student from Copesville was still waiting for accommodation outside the campus, despite receiving a SMS confirming her residence allocation, and NSFAS paying for her accommodation.
“I need accommodation as I cannot afford to travel here daily. I applied for a spot in residence and I received a SMS confirming my space in residence. NSFAS also confirmed they have paid for my space. I have been coming here since February regarding my accommodation, and I’m still waiting here,” said the student.
Last week, Maritzburg Sun spoke to Alex Sibiya, who had been camping outside the campus since early February.
“I am from Nquthu and was accepted to study accounting. I have been waiting here since February. We just sleep outside here and wait during the day. We have run out of money for food and water; but I’m waiting here because I want to study further,” he said.
Another student, Sthembele Xulu (19) said he could not afford to return home or get alternate accommodation if he did not get a place at the residence. Xulu wants to study further to create a better life for his ageing mother, who is a seamstress.
UKZN’s executive director for corporate relations, Normah Zondo, said the UKZN student residences are full to capacity, and no new students can be allocated a place at the residence due to this limitation. Zondo said this had been communicated to all students.
“Students who have been allocated a place in university residences are notified via SMS and email of their status. Due to limited spaces, the university is unable to accommodate all students.
“Students who have not yet received official communication confirming allocation in residences are advised to consider alternative options, such as private accommodation,” said Zondo.