Off-Campus Housing Blues: No Let Up In Protests

Students at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University in Pretoria North, Gauteng, on Monday continued their protests to compel the institution to renew their off-campus accommodation leases.

“In the last few days, management received a set of demands from students residing at university-leased off-campus residences, particularly TVL, The Heights, and Drie Lillies,” said the university.

“The main demand raised is that students should continue to reside at these facilities whose contract with the university expires at the end of 2021.

“Students have decided to continue with protest action despite several engagements held with them where the university’s position on the matter was reiterated.”

The university management said it refused to accede to the demand that students be allowed to stay in the university-leased student accommodation facilities beyond the expiry of the signed agreements.

“What the students want management to do is to essentially annul its decision that has been approved by council,” said the university.

“Sadly, the continued student protest will collapse the 2020 academic calendar which has previously been revised again due to staff and student protests on campus earlier in the year.

“These protests seriously negatively impact on the operations of the university and will affect productivity and the performance of the institution as staff members are also prevented from accessing their offices.”

The university said its rules prohibit any protestors from barricading entrances to the institution.

“The university management, therefore, calls upon protesting students not to prevent those students who want to proceed with their academic studies or staff members who wish to access their offices,” said management.

“Students are similarly requested to abide by the decision taken by the university as no further extensions of the residences in question would be made as doing so would be illegal and exposes the university to litigation.

“The university is not in a position to act outside the structures of its supply chain management policies.”