Accommodation shortage sparks TUT protest

Tshwane - A shortage of accommodation, which has forced some students to sleep on benches or squat in packed residences, sparked a protest at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) early on Wednesday.

Management closed the main campus in Pretoria West, after students blocked the entrance with burning tyres.

Students met on Tuesday evening to mobilise and discuss their grievances. They called on management to find alternative accommodation for students from other cities.

“Some students are sleeping on benches in some of these buildings inside the campus, while some are squatting in packed residences near the institution,” said one student, who asked not to be named.

She sleeps on a bench in the changing rooms, and gets woken up at 04:00 by university sports team members arriving for their early training sessions.

A member of the EFF at TUT criticised the protest. The grievances could have been discussed with TUT’s management, he said, not wanting to give his name.

“We do not support vandalism of institutional property. We believe that these matters have been raised and there are better ways to hold these people [management] accountable,” he said.

TUT spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said the university would hold talks with students and resume academic activities on Thursday.

She said the university was aware of the students sleeping on benches and was investigating the matter.

The university was providing accommodation to 35% of its total student population.

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