Work Firmly Underway On New Walter Sisulu University Residence

JUNE 3, 2015

WSU Buffalo City Campus (BCC) SRC president Misheck Mugabe broke ground to turn the sod at the Potsdam Site yesterday, marking a watershed moment for the institution in its pursuit to provide more on-campus accommodation for its students.

A visibly delighted Mugabe welcomed the move by the University, hailing it a momentous intervention that would bring positive change to many students burdened by high living costs in the city’s (East London) privately-owned residences.

“This is a great day for the University where the promise of service delivery has been fulfilled. This will go a long way in creating a cheaper, more conducive environment for studying on-campus, as well as cutting the high costs of transportation for students being bussed between Potsdam and the city” said Mugabe.

The R92 million, 360-bed project will help supplement the site’s pre-existing bed count which stands at 254, bringing the total of University-owned beds to 614 in BCC upon completion of the current project.

WSU infrastructure projects manager Siya Mnyaiza said although the count represented an intervention of over 100%, it still stood timid compared to the campus’s  approved annual enrolment target of 7 500.

“This comparison alone clearly indicates that a lot still needs to be done by the University in terms of providing accommodation. We’re aware of this and we continue to be proactive in exploring avenues to solicit funding so we can build more residences for our students,” said Mnyaiza.

With a University-owned bed count of approximately 5 100 (including the latest project), servicing an enrolment target of 27 000,  the institution, at 19% owned beds,  still finds itself well short of the prescribed 30% benchmark set by the Department of Higher Education (DHET) for provision of University-owned accommodation.

“This difference represents approximately 3 000 beds the University needs in order to reach that 30%. This is a target we will, with well-thought out strategies and plans, achieve in the not-so-distant future,” said Mnyaiza.

WSU Interim Vice Chancellor and Principal Prof Khaya Mfenyana was scathing in denouncing careless and irresponsible actions of those guilty of damaging and vandalising University-owned and leased property.

“I appeal to our students to conduct themselves in a dignified and respectful manner within this project so as to preserve and protect it to achieve maximum longevity,” said Mfenyana.

WSU Acting Spokesperson Thando Cezula said the milestone displayed tangible progress and transformation taking place at the University in its endeavours to fulfil the deliverables of the on-going Turnaround Strategy.

“Student life is permanently on the agenda of WSU because it’s a vital part of any institution’s teaching and learning aspirations. It’s no secret that conducive learning conditions are important in improving the pass and throughput rate of any institution. We trust this building will aid us in this regard,” said Cezula.

The project is scheduled to take 13 months and is set to be completed in mid-2016.