Director of facilities management at Unizulu Richard Dlongolo at the new residential facility. Picture: Supplied

DURBAN - The University of Zululand on Thursday announced a 288 unit residential facility had been completed at its KwaDlangezwa Campus, outside Empangeni.

Last year the university management was criticised by student leadership who accused them of spending about R20m on an allegedly illegal and unnecessary purchase of houses for themselves while the students lived in appalling conditions.

“The state of residences is bordering inhumane and some students are renting because there is not enough student accommodation but no one cares about that,” said SRC president-elect Lindelani Duze to the Sunday Tribune in June.

UniZulu vice chancellor, Professor Xoliswa Mtose, said the upgrades to the residences and the electricity substation had a combined value of over R70m. She said this helped deal with key challenges en route to creating a good teaching and learning environment for both students and staff.

"Investment in post-secondary infrastructure is an investment in South Africa’s next generation of students and researchers. Improving the spaces where students’ live and where innovation takes place will fuel prosperity for years to come," she explains.

Director of facilities management, Richard Dlongolo, said that the completion of additional residential accommodation for 288 students was a precursor to building further residences on the campus to address the critical shortage of student accommodation.

Unizulu currently accommodates 5 000 out of 17 000 students on campus, as a result, many travel long distances or live in the nearby Vulindlela Village where, Dlongolo pointed out, rudimentary housing and shacks lack basic services and do not provide a suitable environment for study.