Wits says it can’t afford to provide beds for every registered student

This comes after the student representative council held a mass demonstration, demanding accommodation at the institution's main campus in Braamfontein on Wednesday.

Wits University SRC leaders disrupted classes, calling on other students to demonstrate with them as they called for an end to the accommodation crisis at the institution on 4 March 2020. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Wits University management said they were not in a position to provide beds for every registered student.

This comes after the student representative council (SRC) held a mass demonstration, demanding accommodation at the institution's main campus in Braamfontein on Wednesday.

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The SRC disrupted some classes, saying numerous students were sleeping in inhumane conditions including labs, libraries and bathrooms.

However, the university said it was facing a funding crisis and could only allocate accommodation to selected students.

Protesters forced their way into Wits University’s Great Hall to stage a sit-down demonstration over the housing crisis at the institution.

Disgruntled students accused the university of violating student’s human rights by failing to provide accommodation for hundreds of students.

“Every year, students have to come here and strike for accommodation because every year, they sleep in libraries, they have to bath where other students study."

The university’s dean of students Jerome September said the homeless students had failed multiple times and had lost their funding and accommodation for the year.

“The reality is, we have a number of students who have lost funding for one or the other reason. Some would have been for academic performance or there might be another reason for losing funding and that's particularly where the challenge sits."

The Wits SRC has threatened management, saying they would not back down until accommodation was sourced for students on Wednesday night.