DUT students squat in common TV room

2009-04-30 00:00

Poor living conditions for Durban Institute of Technology (DUT) students at the Pietermaritzburg campus, yesterday resulted in students abandoning their classes to demonstrate against the institution’s management.

The students, some of whom have been living in the institution’s television common room since the beginning of the year, say they are tired of living in terrible conditions, while the institution charges them more than R10 500 for accommodation per year.

They say the problem is not just the shortage of housing, but the management’s response to their situation.

They say the school overbooked the dormitories and failed to provide the students with alternative accommodation.

Nhlanhla Dlamini, who comes from Bergville, said when he applied to study at the institution, he was promised accommodation, which he paid for. However, the institution seemed to have gone back on this promise.

“In the beginning of the year, we lived in the corridor of the male dormitories until we decided to relocate ourselves to the TV room.”

He said the TV room is neither safe nor secure. “This area is a shortcut to other places in the building, and people run through here while we are sleeping.”

He said there is no privacy in the television room. When The Witness visited their dormitory, six students were sharing the living space in the television room. They said it’s not uncommon to find eight people sharing a single room.

The SRC media and publicity officer, Nhlanhla Skakhane, said the situation is a result of the “arrogance and the ineptness of management”.

“This campus has no autonomy, everything is done in Durban and that affects service delivery to students.”

He said the SRC had found accommodation for the students, but management has been slow in relocating them as everything has to be approved in Durban.

Nomonde Mbadi, who is the executive director of corporate affairs at the campus, said the institution did have an accommodation problem, but was “sorting it out”.

She, however, denied that the students are being charged for accommodation. “The students are misleading the media by claiming that the university is charging them for accommodation.

“DUT will only start charging this group of students when they move into the accommodation facility.”

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