6 February 2018

South Africa: UCT Struggles to Provide Student Accommodation

Photo: Ian Barbour/Flickr
University of Cape Town UCT.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is currently facing a student accommodation crisis, with many students having to turn to private accommodation at the last minute.

Student representative council (SRC) chairperson Karabo Khakhau believes that the problem lies with the university's allocation process.

"Annually the university over-allocates, so students who were allocated student accommodation no longer have a place to stay," she said.

Postgraduate students were the most affected, according to Khakhau.

"This is a problem because academic registration opened [on Monday] and some post-graduate courses have already started," she explained.

The SRC advises students seeking accommodation to use the website www.digsconnect.co.za for private accommodation.

However, UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said the institution's student housing department was addressing the accommodation issues.

Off-campus residences

He said the university has always "over-offered by a small percentage in terms of student residence. This is not something new".

Moholola added that previously, there had never been a 100% take-up by all students who had been made residence offers due to a variety of factors, including students who decide not to study at UCT or those whose final matric results might have made them ineligible for admission.

"This year, a larger than usual percentage of students who had residence offers have taken up those."

The university's student housing department was in contact with the affected students to resolve the matter as speedily as possible, he said.

He said students who had not yet been placed in residences for which they were made an offer would be placed in other UCT residences.

Students would also be considered for an off-campus residence with which UCT has signed a lease agreement, he said. "It must be noted that, due to capacity issues, not all students can be accommodated on campus. UCT can accommodate only 6 800 students. The university's Off-Campus Student Accommodation Services (OCSAS) offers assistance to students who need to secure off-campus accommodation."

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