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Wits University Students Protest Over Lack Of Student Accommodation On Campus

Lectures and other academic programmes were disrupted on Tuesday at the University of the Witwatersrand after students took to the streets to protest against lack of accommodation on campus.

Wits Student Representative Council has now vowed to shut down the university until students are given accommodation.

Wits SRC President Thuto Gabaphethe, addressing hundreds of students on campus, said about 200 students were still in need of accommodation, resulting in some of them sleeping in laboratories, libraries and open spaces.

During the rally on campus, some students suggested that management should talk to government to request that buildings be donated to Wits University students.

However, the university said in a statement that it was disappointed with the actions of Wits SRC, who apparently broke the agreement signed on 10 February, saying it  R17 million to Wits Hardship Fund to support those facing hardship and those in need of accommodation. “To date, 800 students have been helped. Another 50 are being helped this morning as more beds from a private service provider have become available. Despite the  @Wits_SRC having broken this agreement, the Dean of Students  @JeromeSeppie is still willing to engage in order to resolve any further issues. It is now up to the  @Wits_SRC to show leadership in this regard,” the university said in a statement.

Wits Vice Chancellor Adam Habib told EWN that he has an agreement with the students and the SRC is not telling the whole truth.

“What she (SRC secretary-general Katie Morget) is not telling you is that the vast majority of students who have problems with accommodation are people who have lost their National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) bursaries. They lost those bursaries because they failed more than two times,” said Habib.

(Compiled by Charles Molele)

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