KATLEGO MKHWANAZI AND SIYAMMUKELA MAHLANGU
House Xayata is currently receiving a face lift. Renovation signs are up and builders are on site. Xayata is situated opposite Nerina. However, the major construction will commence in about a month’s time. University management confirmed that the Glaskas section will be renovated during the November/December 2011 and January 2012 recess. The completion date for the total renovation project is set for early February 2012.
According to TuksRes management, substantial renovations to both Pastorie and Glaskas (divisions of Xayata) will be done in order to upgrade these residences to the standard required by the university. “We need to upgrade the facilities,” said Prof Roelf Visser, TuksRes Director. The renovations will be made on communal areas such as bathrooms and corridors. Some of the new facilities include kitchenettes, a parking area, a small IT lab and a laundry room. “We are doing a total upgrade within a budget,” said Visser. “We want to cater for the needs of the students.”
Andrew Masombuka, Chairperson of Xayata said, “A huge amount of money has been put aside for the renovations so the standard of our res might be like that of TuksVillage after the renovations.”
Pastorie has already been evacuated and alternative accommodation for students has been organised in places like Fairview apartments. “We accommodated all students who got 50% and upwards,” explained Visser.
However, there was a miscommunication between TuksRes and Xayata. According to Masombuka, Xayata residents were not informed in time about the renovations. “We were only informed when we reopened in January and this had a bad effect on the res,” said Masombuka. “Our placement list had more people than the number of rooms available,” he explained. “There were people who qualified for res but could not be placed.”
The renovated Xayata residence will help accommodate the many students in need of accommodation. Students on the waiting lists will be considered for placement in Xayata once the renovations are complete.
Xayata is currently a single-sex res, but according to Visser this might change in the future. “Personally, I would like Xayata to become a co-ed residence like TuksVillage,” said Visser. “However it all depends on the needs and the demand from the students,” he added.
“We are not sure if we are going to remain a male res after the renovations, but we want to keep Xayata’s culture of being all male,” said Masombuka.
Xayata is currently occupied solely by black students. “We would like Xayata to become a racially integrated res,” said Visser. According to Masombuka the reason why Xayata is an all black male residence is that it was formed from the res Savana which had only black students. “The race issue is not a problem; res placement must not be based on race,” said Masombuka. Masombuka added that it does not make sense to have a student who lives in Brooklyn and has a car to placed in res while there are students from far who sleep in the library.
“What we want is to be treated and serviced like all other residences because we pay the same price and we want to promote a culture of a democratic res in the University of Pretoria,” he concluded.
Photo: Desré Barnard