UJ sets the record straight

The availability of affordable, easily accessible, safe and secure student accommodation is a priority for the University of Johannesburg. Photo: Supplied

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) was in the spotlight after media reports alleged a number of students were left destitute.

The university’s media liaison Herman Esterhuizen said UJ has noted the reports claiming that scores of students sleep in toilets, lecture halls, laboratories and corridors.

“Unfortunately a large part of the report is characterised by poorly substantiated allegations by some students, creating the impression of widespread irresponsible behaviour by the University’s Student Affairs and Protection Services personnel. To clarify, UJ students and prospective students applied for accommodation for 2018. The Unversity allocated the available space to students who met the requirements,” said Esterhuizen.

He explained that registered students are in the process of taking up their respective residences since the 2018 academic year commenced on 5 February. The University has 6 643 bed spaces in residences spread across four campuses. However, student accommodation at UJ as well as other universities is a consistent challenge.

The availability of affordable, easily accessible, safe and secure student accommodation is a priority for the university and, as such, UJ has approved Privately Owned Student Accommodation (Posa), which met the required minimum standards of student accommodation, in order to supplement the residential spaces.

Thus far, 16 200 Posa beds are approved for UJ students.

Students who stay in these approved Posas, and who are on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme or who have bursaries, have their accommodation funded.

“Of course, there still are students who require assistance with accommodation. The university encourages and appeals to those students who require support with accommodation to approach its Student Accommodation and Residence Life Office for assistance,” said Esterhuizen.

He added he added UJ has initiated a number of interventions including partnerships with a number of relevant organisations to support students with food. In partnership with the Gift of the

Givers, 9 000 students will be provided with two cooked meals a day from 5 February to 30 November this year.

The University will further provide meal packs, of which Tiger Brand and Rise Against Hunger Africa sponsor some, to about 3 000 students.

Once more, students who need assistance with food are encouraged to approach the office of Student Life in Student Affairs for assistance.

ALSO READ: UJ denies students squatting on campus

  AUTHOR
Naledi Mokoena
Journalist

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