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Walter Sisulu University students demand right to squat

Hundreds of Walter Sisulu University students recently embarked on a protest at the Buffalo City Campus. The protest was an attempt to persuade management to allow them (students) to squat with other students in the available residences.

This follows an unfortunate situation where some students could not get funding for accommodation from the National Students Financial Aid Scheme. The match resulted in lectures being disrupted and close to about 7‚000 students who were on campus have been affected.

Student leadership also said management should stop demanding registration fees for a second semester from engineering students. A memo containing their grievances and concerns was handed over to the management of the university.  

The Walter Sisulu University has four campuses and 13 sites which are a hive of academic activity. It is evident that the university is struggling with meeting the demands for accommodation for all its students. With some students having not received funding for their accommodation, they felt that the only solution was to demand management to allow term to share the available accommodation with the students that already have accommodation.

Accommodation crisis is a norm in a number of universities in Southern Africa and students are left with no option but to resort to sorting accommodation in areas surrounding the university. These areas are very costly for students and some do not afford them and have to rely on National funding. If the national funding does not come through for the students, most are left stranded, hence resulting in such protests. Some have to travel long distances to get to campus where they can get resources such as internet connectivity, library books and lectures.  This has a negative impact on the performance of other students. The overcrowding in the residences also put Facility Managers under pressure when it comes to maintenance and management of these facilities.

Walter Sisulu University (WSU) was established on 1 July, 2005 in terms of the Higher Education Act No. 101 of 1997. The new university was named in honour of an icon of the South African liberation struggle, the late Walter Max Ulyate Sisulu.

 

 

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