According to former SRC president, Mosibudi ‘Rassie’ Rasethaba, at about 21:00 UP’s security guards begun removing students from campus. “Note that these students were refused places in university-owned residences and cannot afford private residence. Campus was their only safe space for tonight,” said Rasethaba in a Facebook post.The Facebook event is set to end on 20 February at 20:00 and advocates for “[holding] management accountable on the commitments to dealing with this crisis as it has been ongoing for several years”, as “have been numerous engagements with the management of the University on this issue but to no avail”. However, UP issued an official statement on 14 February offering a contrasting view of events. It stated how UP and the Temporary Student Committee engaged with the students who had claimed to be without accommodation and offered accommodation to all the students, which they refused. The statement further explains that the university “since discovered that out of the group of ten students, four were already placed in residences, three of them were not students and one had outstanding financial issues”. The university states that it was able to find accommodation for the other two students. Some of UP’s key criteria for residence admission is academic eligibility, academic achievement, financial need and year of study with preference given to first years. “The university is committed to and will do everything in its control to ensure that, within the limits of space available in our official residences, eligible students are assisted to find accommodation,” the statement concludes.

According to TSC Chairperson, Henrico Barnard, the TSC has been dealing with accommodation cases since the beginning of the year. Barnard says that the #UPResCrisis is a case of the EFF using the university as a political playground. He further added that such actions cause legitimate cases of students needing accommodation to lose credibility. Barnard further added that the TSC, in collaboration with UP, have gone above and beyond placing students in residences, acquiring an additional 420 beds for students needing accommodation. This accommodation has been made available to students who have been provisionally accepted for NSFAS funding, regardless of whether they have received such funding yet. UP and the TSC have since entered into agreements with Hatfield Studios, as well as several other private accommodation residences, to provide student accommodation. UP has undertaken to pay the accommodation fees for February and March for all students living at these residences, until NSFAS is able to fund these students. Barnard also added that the TSC saw a need to revisit the current UP residence placement policy and that it is currently under revision. Barnard explained that, to date, there has not been a single student who qualified for residence placement who has not been placed. Barnard explained that an additional 50 beds were also made available for director’s placements. These beds are available to those students who are financially or academically excluded from UP.

 

Photo: UP Fees Must Fall Facebook