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Nursing students fear that they will be left homeless

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According to students no alternative arrangements have been made

OUT ON THE STREET: Nursing students have been instructed to vacate the residences at the JP Hugo hostel as well as Artistia accommodation in New Park by the end of the week. Picture: Soraya Crowie

NURSING students fear that they will be left homeless after they were instructed to vacate their residences before the end of the week, to make way for the Sol Plaatje University.

Nursing student representative, Thabiso Molusi, said that they were issued with notices to leave the JP Hugo hostel and Artistia accommodation in New Park by the end of the month.

“The lease was extended last year for another six months, but will expire on Thursday.

“We tried to meet with the MEC last week but were informed that he was not available.

“We are worried because the majority of students are from out of town and they will have nowhere else to go.

“No alternative accommodation arrangements have been made yet and there is already a dire shortage of suitable residences,” said Molusi.

He added that the landlord as well as the service providers at the hostels, including catering, cleaning and laundry, were in the process of moving all their equipment out of the hostels.

“Staff at the hostels were already given retrenchment letters. Despite assurances from the department that the lease will be extended until October, students will be without any services or food.”

Molusi pointed out that nursing students should reside within walking distance of their workplaces.

“We wanted the offices at the James Exum Building to be turned into nursing accommodation as the students often have to work shifts.”

He added that the student representative council (SRC) had highlighted the high failure rate amongst students and a shortage of lecturers.

“This is due to the fact that there are no textbooks.

“Students are studying from notes that were photocopied from previous students’ textbooks. Sometimes the textbooks arrive after we have written the exams.

“Students are not receiving their stipends and uniform allowances.”

Molusi added that there was a large group of students, as well as nursing graduates and those who have completed certificate and nursing assistant courses, who are sitting at home, unemployed, as they have not been placed at any health facilities.

“This is a total waste of state funds that were invested in their education.”

The spokesperson for the MEC for Health, Lebogang Majaha, stated that both parties had agreed to hold a follow-up meeting on September 4.

“This will allow the Department of Health ample time and space to process some of the administrative decisions,” said Majaha.

“The department will ensure that no students will be left without accommodation, transport and food in the main, whilst fast-tracking the process to complete the new nursing accommodation.

“The MEC remains committed to resolving the challenges facing the nursing profession in our Province.”