CPUT Bellville campus Photo: www.cput.ac.za
Cape Town – Disgruntled Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) students erected makeshift structures at the institution’s Bellville campus to protest against a shortage of accommodation.

They erected the structures, made from cardboard, plastic and wood, on Monday night.

Yesterday, the university’s security guards demolished the structures but students vowed to erect them again.

Students affiliated to the EFF Student Command (EFFSC) at the Bellville campus said the management of CPUT needed to be reminded of the urgent need for student accommodation, and said “our position is still clear: the SRC (student representative council) deployed by the EFFSC should vacate their office and turn it into double rooms to reduce the number of homeless students. 

The student centre must be divided into rooms to accommodate those (who are) needy”.

CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said: “Dean of students Prem Coopoo has been tirelessly meeting with students to accommodate those who are eligible, applied on time and are genuinely in need (of accommodation). 

"CPUT vice-chancellor Dr Chris Nhlapo has also announced the establishment of a task team to look specifically at student housing and... visited some residences last week,” Kansley said.

“The real affected parties are the students who have applied on time (for accommodation) and are being denied a space because late applicants expect to jump the residence queue. 

"CPUT is not unique in facing a student housing crisis. Roughly 33% of our student body is accommodated in residences and this far exceeds the national average.”

EFFSC acting provincial secretary Songeze Phahlindlela said: “The institution is taking time in identifying buildings and approving the ones we gave them. 

"We don’t know what is taking them so long because (there are fewer) than 400 students who must be accommodated. Out of desperation some homeless students built structures and occupied them.”

Meanwhile, chaos erupted at CPUT’s College of Nursing at its Athlone campus yesterday when protesting students clashed with police.

Athlone campus SRC chairperson Thobile Tshefu said a number of students had been arrested and would face disciplinary action. They were protesting over safety concerns at residences.

Cape Times