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Old government buildings for use as student digs

In a bid to address the shortages of accommodation for university students, the departments of Higher Education and Public Works are working together to identify unoccupied government buildings that could be developed as residences.

The bold plan was revealed by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande at the Mangosuthu University of Technology on Wednesday where he was invited to speak at student movement Sasco’s policy conference.
Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande addressing the Sasco National Policy Conference at Mangosuthu University of Technology, uMlazi, Durban, on Wednesday. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng. Credit: Independent Media

Nzimande said the buildings would not be for university students only, but would also be extended to students who were in TVET colleges.

“As government we don’t like many places where you are staying. Some are not fit for study and some are not fit for human habitation. So we have prioritised this, we are inviting you to the student accommodation symposium in July, where we will bring everybody under one roof, the banks, insurance companies, students and vice-chancellors to say what model should we be using to upscale the provision of accommodation.

“Together with Public Works, we are engaged in the process of identifying unused and under-utilised government buildings that must be converted to student accommodation throughout the country. This time we are saying it’s not only for university, but also for Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges as well,” he said.

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