WSU RESIDENCE INDABA ADDRESSES STUDENT ACCOMMODATION PLIGHT

The second leg of the Student Accommodation Indaba held a dialogue about current student accommodation challenges and possible solutions to overcome these challenges, at the Queenstown Health Resource Centre on Friday 12 July.

 

In attendance were students, landlords and various staff members of Walter Sisulu University (WSU).

 

Faculty of Economics and Information Technology Dean, Doctor Patrick Bwowe said the purpose of the Indaba was to find a way to co-exist so that students can have a good standard of living and have service providers deliver what is expected of them.

 

“WSU is trying to put value on the people we are working with by sharing ideas and values with various stakeholders” he said.

 

Concerns and issues raised included student accommodation availability, living conditions in residences, landlords not investing much in their business or ignoring basic services, bad student behavior and National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) issues pertaining to accommodation.

 

Student Affairs executive director, Zoleka Dotwana said there has been a significant growth at the Komani (Queenstown) Campus and with the growth there had been a demand in student accommodation.

 

“We have come a long way and it is pleasing to see that we are growing, we have 32 700 students in our institution and we are aware that residence by nature is a critical need that demands to be serviced”she said.

 

Student Representative Council President of the Queenstown Campus site Unathi Gqetywa said they welcomed all the suggestions that were meant to enhance student living.

 

He also cautioned that landlords and students should work towards reaching a common ground and try to understand each other.

 

“I plead that landlords be weary that students come from different backgrounds of which some of them face challenges in the places that they come from.”

 

“These challenges can have an impact on the social skills of the students thus causing problems in their academics and life at res, it would be lovely if landlords could approach these issues as parents and understand them however we do not condone irresponsible behavior from students”, said Gqetywa.

 

Chairperson of the discipline committee in Queenstown Zolile Sontshi said to ensure that landlords and students live harmoniously together there had to be rules that are set.

 

“In order for landlords and students to get along it is essential that ground rules are established, these rules should be written up and placed in the house so that should there be a problem one can refer to the rules that were put in place”, he said.

 

By Xolelwa Dwesini

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