JOHANNESBURG - Some of the students from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) who had been told to vacate their private accommodation by the end of April because their landlord had lost “accredited status” have been let off the hook.
Earlier this month, Basil Mugwena, the Director: Student Life and Governance at the UJ Auckland Park campus wrote a letter to affected students saying: "This memorandum serves to inform you that the University of Johannesburg has withdrawn accreditation that was granted to Nolwando Bomela for the years 2019 to 2023".
This meant that as many as 50 students had to vacate the private accommodation premises by end of April, unless they were prepared to pay the rentals from their own pockets.
However, this week the UJ made an about-turn on taking action against the landlord Bomela Campbell, who allegedly breached National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) regulations by taking in more students than he was accredited for.
But the university insisted that the landlord would have to stick to agreed numbers of tenants.
Commenting on the development, Campbell, who owns Nolwando Bomela, said: “The update on my recent de-accreditation is that UJ and I are entering an arrangement that from now only 24 NSFAS students will be allowed in our premises.
“Anything over that, we pay back to the university whatever we collect as rent. Should we not come to finality on this, we will inform the students accordingly.”
Affected students have been told to wait for an SMS advising them if they will be allowed to stay.
“I am so scared. What if I am not on the list of 24 names. That means I still have to worry about finding a new place that will be safe and comfortable. I doubt I will be able to stay in these places that UJ is providing for us,” lamented Mitchell Masemola, BA Psychology student.
Accommodation allocator, Kefilwe Mokgobinyane, from the privately owned student accommodation office said: “The students that don’t make the cut will still have to go our NSFAS accredited accommodations. Unfortunately, we are only left with sharing rooms in Joburg, Westdene and Brixton.”
Commenting on the development UJ student finance administrator, Evelyn Mareletse said: "I think now students are fully aware that one way or another the evacuation process has to take place. It's not only Mr Campbell that had breached the contract. Other landlords also find themselves caught up in this predicament.
"Our students should just accept this process and move to the places we have allocated them to and maybe they can try and get new places next year. What is important right now is for them to be focusing on their studies."
African News Agency (ANA)