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Evicted students allowed to stay

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Due to humanitarian reasons, the landlords of Eternal City have allowed evicted Sol Plaatje University students to remain at the residences despite non payment of their rent.

Sol Plaatje University students camped outside the university last week. Picture: Soraya Crowie

DUE to humanitarian reasons, the landlords of Eternal City have allowed evicted Sol Plaatje University students to remain at the residences despite the non-payment of their rent.

The landlords stated that they would not allow the students to sleep on the street.

Representative for the students, Ompolokile Lebete, said they want to engage with the relevant authorities regarding their outstanding debt nd their future accommodation arrangements.

He stated that 168 students were referred to the Eternal City residences while the rentals were overdue for three months.

“No one knows what criteria was used to select students. No payment has reflected in the landlord’s bank account.”

Lebete indicated that Eternal City was an accredited off campus accommodation provider that accepted students from a verified list.

“They took instructions directly from the university management as well as the student representative council (SRC). The SRC and university management is aware of the number of students as the landlords’ invoices were created and sent with the relevant student details as required from the university.

“The SRC has made it clear to the students that they had a cash reserve on the day the students protested at the offices of students affairs. They promised that the money would be processed to cover the costs of the 168 students, only to find out at the next meeting that the fund has no money left.”

Lebete stated that they collectively rejected the alternative accommodation proposed by the SRC.

“We do not know how long we will stay at Eternal City and who will be liable for the debt that will be created.”

He indicated that students were being evicted while they were busy with semester tests.

“How can funding only be provided for three months? How are we expected to raise funds because we are unfunded and struggling financially.

“Where is the money that was raised for the students? It was widely publicised that the SRC received R1,2 million from the Motsepe Foundation and R500 000 from the Premier’s Office.

“We feel as if we, the victims, are being painted as being ignorant or ungrateful whereas university management and the SRC do not care about our safety and wellness.”

Acting director of institutional advancement in the office of the vice-chancellor at SPU Kashini Maistry did not wish to add further comment.

She indicated that students were currently writing their exams.

She previously stated that the university did not intervene in the relationship between the landlord and a tenant.

SRC president Lethlogonolo Timse appealed to the public and private sector to pledge or donate funds towards the Thusa Moithuti Fund to assist unfunded or financially excluded students to register for their studies and cover their accommodation expenses.

“The beneficiaries of the fund are performing well academically and some are in their final year. It would be a travesty if they are unable to finish their studies due to a lack of funds.”

He explained that the students were funded for three months accommodation with the hope that they would receive funding through bursaries.

“We are doing our utmost to fund raise and source additional donors.”

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