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By Reitumetse Mahope


Some TUT campuses to reopen on Monday, Soshanguve to remain closed

This comes as TUT had been witnessing “challenges” relating to National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) students opting for private, non-accredited accommodation.

After the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) on Thursday suspended activities at Pretoria (West), Arts and Arcadia Campuses following disruptions, all activities at these campuses will resume on Monday.

All activities at the Soshanguve Campuses however, remain suspended until further notice and staff at these campuses were advised to carry on with working and teaching from home, while students should continue with online and paper-based learning, the Rekord East reports.

This comes as TUT had been witnessing “challenges” relating to National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) students opting for private, non-accredited accommodation.

Vice-chancellor and TUT principal, Lourens van Staden, said the university acknowledged the plight of students in terms of their choice of accommodation.

However, Van Staden said the university was bound by the directives of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) as well NSFAS.

“The process of allocating NSFAS funded students with accommodation starts in order of priority – students are firstly placed in university-owned, then university-leased, then university-accredited spaces.”

Van Staden said a student’s choice of accommodation was, therefore, limited to the DHET and NSFAS directives and guidelines.

“Hence, private off-campus, non-accredited accommodation is only considered when neither university-owned, leased nor accredited accommodation is available. This is only applicable for students at TUT’s Polokwane campus in 2020.

“With regard to a number of queries from students and property owners in the Soshanguve campus region over the past few weeks, it has been confirmed that no applications for accreditation have been received and, therefore, no private accommodation in Soshanguve has been accredited for 2020.”

Van Staden said subsequently, no lease agreements between students and property owners had also been submitted to the university.

He said to date, the university had, however, engaged the executive committee of the property owners’ association several times, and an agreement had been reached with the property owners who claimed to have housed students since the beginning of the year.

“The university is currently awaiting final student name lists from the property owners in order to verify the status of the students. The facilities of the property owners on the list will then be subject to an evaluation process for accreditation.

“Where accreditation is granted, payment of allowances to the respective students will be made for the period of stay in private accommodation.”

He said it was important to reiterate that the university aligned its policies and procedures with those of DHET and NSFAS.

“The practice of placing students in well-established, accredited, adequate and safe facilities is a non-negotiable requirement that is closely monitored by DHET and the ministry.

“We appeal to students who continuously attempt to disrupt academic activities at the Soshanguve campuses to consult their property owners on the latest deliberations between the executive committee of RSA and TUT.”

Van Staden said the university wanted to assure students and other stakeholders of TUT’s commitment to address uncertainties and resolve challenges that caused continuous disruptions at the university.

This article first appeared on Rekord East and has been republished with permission.

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