Accommodation fiasco costing UKZN dearly

2013-03-15 00:00

THE accommodation fiasco at University of KwaZulu-Natal that saw 560 students sleeping in the streets is costing the institution dearly.

The university confirmed that each student who was moved from the Renaissance building near Albert Park a month ago would receive R300 as compensation for groceries that were spoilt during the months that they lived there without electricity.

The homeless students have since been accommodated at hotels in Durban and the university is reportedly footing the bill.

The students said the university had also been paying for their transport to and from lectures.

The standard rates at the hotels where the students are staying are between R500 and R700, which means the university may be paying about half-a-million rand a day renting rooms for 560 students.

The Pavilion Hotel on Marine Parade charged R695 a night, said a receptionist at the hotel. The Coastlands Hotel at the beachfront charges up to R700 a room for four people. The other hotel where the students are living, Impala Holiday Flats, also on the beachfront, charges R500 a night.

But the university would not say how much the measures were costing, and would only confirm the R300 compensation for spoilt groceries.

Students who were put up at the Downtown Hotel complained about the conditions there.

On Tuesday, a student was injured during a protest and the university has since expressed regret over the chaos.

Students are still unhappy about the arrangements. They are demanding an investigation into why they were forced to live with no water and electricity in an apartment block for months.

One student who didn’t want her name used, said the R300 the university was offering was a “kick in the teeth”.

In a notice issued to students yesterday, the university said it “sincerely regrets the unfortunate incident”.

“At the outset, the university wishes to thank the students who were affected for their patience and understanding. The matter which necessitated the relocation of our students to alternative accommodation in the city is deeply regretted,” it said.

• ayanda.mdluli@witness.co.za

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