Wits accommodation woes force homeless student to sleep on campus

Wits accommodation woes force homeless student to sleep on campus

Accommodation trouble has scores of Wits University students illegally taking shelter on campus. One of these students, Sipho*, has been struggling to secure a place to stay since the start of the academic year.

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Desperate students at Wits University have resorted to illegally camping out in study halls and even corridors after an accommodation shortage hit the school.

While some students have lost bursaries, others are simply awaiting approval by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

Sipho* is one of these students and sleeps with his friends in a corner of one of the classrooms at the South African University.

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According to The Sowetan, he is one of 500 students who have battled to find a place to stay since the beginning of the year.

The 25-year-old metallurgical engineering student has apparently made peace with his situation, saying that he spends a great deal of time either studying or completing projects with his friends.

Briefly.co.za gathered that Sipho lost his bursary in 2018 after failing a few of his modules. He now works as a part-time English tutor to pay his fees and support his unemployed mother and his siblings in Limpopo:

"Sleeping on a chair is a small price to pay to secure a better future for me and my family. Not having a place to stay used to bother me at first but I have to stay focused."

Sipho says he wakes up early every day to take a shower at the gym and prepare for the day ahead of him.

Buhle Zuma, spokesperson for the University, says R13 million has been set aside for the Wits Hardship Fund. She encouraged struggling students to come forward so they could be assisted with a place to stay:

"We have provided urgent accommodation and food to hundreds of students requiring assistance in recent weeks. We have also increased the number of beds on our campus to 6,700 beds and we are working with the City of Johannesburg and the province to find a long-term solution to the problem."

* The students name was changed to protect his identity

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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