By: Tamutswa Mahari
As the school term began, UCT administration appealed to homeowners in the Southern Suburbs to help ease the accommodation shortfall, with residences at 75% capacity by Sunday, 5 March 2017. The university appealed to property owners to make accommodation cheaper, with rooms in the region of R3000 – R4000 per month, as well as consider waiving their deposits.
Professor Loretta Ferris, Deputy Vice Chancellor for transformation addressed the issue of off-campus accommodation in an interview with LeadSA saying, “The spaces are pegged at a rate that is so high that it becomes unaffordable for our students. That’s why students end up sleeping on the floor. That’s what we’re trying to alleviate.”
Following Shackville demonstrations, which highlighted the student housing crisis, it was very clear UCT administration had to take on a new housing strategy for 2017.
On Wednesday, 15 March, 2017 a meeting was livestreamed between the Shackville TRC and UCT Management, whose outcome garnered a negative public response. This meeting is part of many issues that are to be addressed by the newly formed Institutional Reconciliation and Transformation Commission as part of the resolutions made in the November 6 2016 agreement. Steps towards resolving housing issues such as ensuring that first year students getting aid from NSFAS automatically receive automatic student accommodation were mentioned in the meeting.
There is a significant discrepancy between the NFSAS housing allowance and the average price of rentals in areas that are near universities, and UCT SRC as a collective has stated that they are in current talks with UCT management to provide a way forward in this regard.
For the audio of Proffesor Loretta Ferris’ interview follow the link below:
For the full video of the meeting between Shackville TRC and UCT management follow the link below: