Wits University is looking to make R1 billion from selling the controversial Frankenwald Estate near the Marlboro Gautrain station to aid poor students, but one concerned resident is opposing the sale.
Jim Powell says the university is not honouring the spirit of why it was given the plot in the first place. The site was given to Wits as a gift from British mining magnate Sir Alfred Beit in 1905 to be used for “education in perpetuity”.
According to a 2017 report to the university’s council, vice-chancellor Adam Habib said they have spoken to the state about selling the land to assist disadvantaged students.
Frankenwald Estate is a 290-hectare piece of land close to the Marlboro Gautrain station and Linbro Business Park.
According to The Citizen, Powell insists that the university was not honouring the legacy of the “Alfred Beit Deed of Gift” and instead was trying to make a quick buck.
“The intention is to sell the land and take the money again.”
He added that the nearby Alexandra township was in great need of education and skills training and that the development of education on the Frankenwald Estate would go a long way helping to meet the need.
Wits has engaged with Powell on the subject.
“The university will engage with Mr Powell through the appropriate forum and not through the media.”