DURBAN– DUT finally delivers its promise of paying out an amount of R5 000 to over 600 students living in private and University-accredited accommodations after being grappled with residence shortages for its students.
The DUT Student Representative Council says it has negotiated with the University management for NSFAS beneficiaries who reside in private accommodations to be paid R2500 every month for a period of 10 study months.
“There are not enough residences to accommodate all needy students, so we decided that we needed a plan B,” said Nocawe Mtembu, a member of the SRC.
The scarcity of residences is partly due to DUT losing some of the accommodations such as City Residence which is now largely occupied by University of KwaZulu-Natal students. The renovations currently underway at Stratford House could be another contributing factor to space shortage.
Richard Morrison, Acting Head of Department of Housing and Residence Life, says the idea for subsidised accommodation was a collaborative effort from all stakeholders, citing a letter from the Department of Higher Education.
“Qualifying students who have been identified as eligible for student accommodation (…) but due to limited residence space cannot be accommodated in university managed accommodation, may be eligible for an allowance for suitable off-campus private accommodation,” reads the letter, dated 9 January 2018.
The R2500, which is paid directly to the students’ bank accounts, is meant to help students pay for rent and other living expenses.
Previously, DUT students would be paid through NSFAS’ sBux system which is paid in vouchers and places a limit on what the student can purchase.
Lindelani Mndaba, a 3rd year Journalism student who received his R5 000 on Wednesday, says the money was a welcome reprieve. “It definitely helps take the pressure off from my parents and means I can now sustain myself.”
“Last year I also did not get res due to space and I lived the whole year in private accommodation with no assistance from NSFAS,” added Mndaba.
With over 600 students who have received their allowance, and even more, are still being processed, Morrison says private accommodation remains an option due to the growing number of students requiring residency.