Protest underway at UCT over housing for black students

Some disgruntled students have erected a shack against the backdrop of the Jameson Hall.

A group of University of Cape Town students erected a shack on campus during a protest over accommodation on 15 February 2016. Picture: Natalie Malgas/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - A group of University of Cape Town (UCT) students have called on university management to prioritise residence allocation before the academic year gets underway.

#UCT curious crowd gathers as protest continue at the foot of Jammie steps. NM

A handful of students have erected a shack on the university's main campus to highlight the plight of students without residential placement.

The group, affiliated to the ' Fees Must Fall' and ' Rhodes Must Fall' movements, say the housing crisis on campus is to the detriment of black students.

They're calling for university management to address their grievances before they disband.

#UCT the group says they will protest at the foot of Jammie steps until their grievances are met. NM

The group claims the university marginalises black South African students when allocating residences, while accommodating white international students.

Protesting student Chumani Maxwele says the university fails to address the issue despite acknowledging there is a housing crisis.

"Now for us it is a question of who they're prioritising. A child from Mthatha or a child from Qoboqobo, who has no money and who wants to study to change their future by coming to university, will get here and find they don't have a place to sleep."

The group has vowed to continue their demonstrations until university management heeds their calls.

Meanwhile, the university has dismissed claims that it gives preference to international students over local students for housing placements.

University management says less than two percent of allocated beds are given to semester abroad students.

Student Representative Council chairperson Rorisang Moseli says interim housing has been made available while a task team assesses the problem.

"It's a crisis that's been compounded by smaller crises. The university has taken some steps. There is transit residence but even then, that's not a permanent solution. What we are trying to do is to make sure that students have a place to stay, while management looks for a solution to this problem. We are actively working on it."