Tshepo Mahudu, a final-year geoinformatics student, frequently stays in the library overnight. As an applicant for the NSFAS programme, he currently lives in Pretoria mid-city. He walks to campus because he cannot afford transport. The walk from campus to mid-city is a dangerous one and Tshepo has been mugged before while walking back home from campus around 20:00.
Collen Mpabantchi, a final-year computer science student, has also been approved for a NSFAS loan but is yet to receive the funds for his tuition and accommodation in Sunnyside. He walks to campus every day because the Sunnyside/Arcadia night bus service has been terminated due to low usage and he cannot afford taxi fare. Mpabantchi said that, “It seems that the university is only catering for students who live in res.”
The SRC says that it is aware that students sleep on campus. and that they often struggle with basic things such as food.
According to Amy Ashworth, SRC member in charge of study finance, the SRC has been allocated an amount of R195 000 for the Study Aid Fund. This is to be allocated to long-term sustainable solutions which include transport. “This year is all about creating solutions that are sustainable … This includes accommodation, transport, food and aid. We are working on the transport system, it is a big thing,” said Ashworth.
“We are fighting a losing battle trying to get this bus system going because it costs a lot of money and the university is not willing to commit to it,” she said.
According to Ashworth, the SRC is working on a food provision programme, but adds that such programmes have been “inconsistent” in the past.