The University of the Western Cape (UWC) has responded to the article published recently on LiveMag regarding the housing crisis on campus.
Live Mag contributor and photographer, Onele Liwani, visited the campus this week and found that some of the students, up to 50 of them, have been living in the lounges for over a month with no hope of when they would be accommodated.
The response from the UWC media office reads as follows:
Student accommodation remains a very complex challenge experienced by a majority of universities nationally. UWC has managed to secure a number of private accommodation providers in the surrounding areas since January 2016. The accommodation challenges encountered by our students remain a priority and continue to be on the University’s agenda. Current discussions are addressing the immediate need and exploring a medium to long term solution.
By the time your article was published all the students mentioned and photographed in the article were placed in rooms. There are no students accommodated in the ResLife lounge and Cassinga TV room anymore.
The plight of students who occupied the TV rooms:
The initial group of 1st year students that arrived prior to their confirmation of acceptance by the University for orientation have been successfully accommodated primarily in spaces that became available due to other 1st years who did not accept the University offer for 2016. The University has also managed to place a number of students in private accommodation that has been vetted by the University.
The University is aware of 18 female and 6 male students that have been occupying both the ResLife Lounge area and Cassinga Residence Recreational hall.These students have been assisted and placed in residences. Despite it not being the University’s responsibility to provide food for these students, the University has provided free meals when they were assisted with temporary shelter and access to amenities such as bathrooms, study halls, wifi etc
Students who live within a 60km radius:
The University is aware of the plight of students living in non-conducive conditions within a 60km radius of the University (who would not qualify according to the rules). We are constantly in talks with student leadership to determine a way forward bearing in mind the University’s limited resources and policy restrictions on NSFAS funding.
What support is there for students in private accommodation given the safety concerns of students:
In line with the agreement signed by the University and the SRC in November 2015, the University is availing transport for students from private accommodation to campus and back to their abodes in the afternoon. Others who live in close proximity to the University’s off campus residences are allowed access to the shuttle service provided to and from campus.
The DVC Student Development and Support, Professor Dube and her team are also ensuring that this category of students, especially 1st years would have access to academic support programmes and other University activities.