UPDATE: Consensus reached between Wits management and students over accommodation disparities at Wits

ATTENTION: A Wits student from the Yale Village residence, neighbouring the Wits campus in Braamfontein holds a placard amidst protests on 20 April.

About 150 Wits students from the Yale Village residence, which houses about 320 students, blockaded the University’s Yale Road north gate entrance on 20 April, in protest over an apparent accommodation crises at the residence.

Speaking to City Buzz amidst the protests, House Committee treasurer, Phenyo Tshwantsho said that students’ demands for uncapped wifi, computer labs and a robust bus system, amongst others, were not unreasonable. “We’re sitting in a conundrum whereby we’re in between two stakeholders, Wits and Respublica (a student accommodation company), both of whom are overseeing Yale Village very poorly,” he said.

DEMANDS: The Memorandum of Demands as drafted for the attention on Wits management on 20 April.

“We’re [literally] living on a construction site. Everything is falling apart, maintenance is constantly any issue, pipes are bursting, and at times we don’t even have water. We’ve outlined our concerns to management, however, the disheartening part is that management claim we never voiced out our demands [previously],” he indicated, adding, “The fact that students are paying about R52 000 in exchange for non-existent services amounts to extortion.”

AFTERMATH: Burnt tyre debris lay on the ground at the Yale Road north gate entrance at the University’s West campus in Braamfontein.

However, speaking to House Committee chairperson, Sabelo Ngubeni on 21 April, he indicated to the publication that a resolution between Wits management, comprising Fana Sibanyoni, chief operations officer; Puleng Lenka-Bula, Dean of Students and Rob Sharman, Director of Residence Life, and Yale Village is in the pipelines. “A consensus has been reached. The university has committed to addressing the grievances on manifesto submitted by House Committee,” he said.

“Management have accepted that the demands on the memorandum are genuine and are long overdue and must be addressed. We’re pleased with the outcome and that our collective voices have been heard. We’re glad that we have a commitment from the University and that some of the demands are being addressed.”

Following discussions, protest action has been stopped with no plans of further protest action. Normal academic activity has resumed and no further incidence have been reported.

 

  AUTHOR
Tshepiso Mametela
Journalist

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