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Gauteng to donate land to universities for student accommodation

The Gauteng government has signed a deal to donate land to the province’s universities to help alleviate a shortage of student accommodation.

"This agreement is the first step towards using the province’s R31bn immovable asset register towards assisting higher education in addressing its massive infrastructure requirements," said the provincial department of infrastructure development.

The agreement was signed on Thursday by Gauteng infrastructure development MEC Jacob Mamabolo, who said the department would come up with concrete plans in three months to ensure the government met its commitment.

The universities which will benefit from the donation of land parcels include the University of SA (Unisa)‚ Pretoria University‚ the University of Johannesburg and the Vaal University of Technology. Donations will also be made to technical vocational education and training institutions.

Mamabolo also addressed the destruction of property during student protests.

"We cannot afford to continue to deliver infrastructure only to be destroyed by non-caring elements of our society. We therefore plead with higher education‚ as we do with other sectors‚ that they should display the commitment by signing the I Care, We Care pledge‚" he said.

The declaration came about following discussions between universities, the infrastructure development and Higher Education and Training Department, organised by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande.

Nzimande roped in 100 influential people from private and public institutions‚ including banks and property developers‚ to discuss the shortage of student accommodation.

He said 50 institutions‚ with more than 200 campuses across the country‚ house just over 1% of their 700,000 students.

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