UP bans private accommodation

The Sonop residence does not meet UP’s quota requirements.

THE University of Pretoria (UP) banned a private owned student accommodation from its list of residences due to lack of transformation and won’t be participating in its upcoming events.

The Sonop residence apparently doesn’t meet the university’s transformation quota, accommodating black students in only six out of 160 residences of Sonop remains predominantly Afrikaans and White. UP spokesperson Rikus Delport said: “In the light of the on-going process to address the diversity profile of residences that wish to participate in the student culture activities, Sonop will for the time not participate in the up-coming 1nSync and RAG events.”

Delport said in recent years, there had been challenges with regards to the transformation requirements set by the university for privately owned student housing establishments. “The university is sympathetic to the challenges facing Sonop in this regard, particularly given the high cost of operating student housing without any form of subsidisation,” Delport said.

The university had a longstanding relationship with Sonop residence, a privately owned student housing complex which exclusively houses UP students. The management of the university has been involved in processes to arrive at a new Memorandum of Understanding between UP and Sonop. Discussions between the board of Sonop and the university are ongoing.

“The management must consult internal stakeholders including the SRC on matters that affect students. The SRC has overarching responsibility for the student life activities organised by the Student Culture Committee, Tuks RAG and the Student Sport Committee,” Delport said.

The university reiterated that the same principle applies to all other providers of private and accredited accommodation that its students who reside in private and accredited establishments are free to participate in day and faculty houses. Sonop Koshuis’ Tonie Viljoen could not be reached for comment. The university management will continue its engagement with the board of Sonop and is committed to arrive at a solution underpinned by shared values and a diversity profile that demonstrates transformation of the residences.

Meanwhile, a group of students from the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) yesterday marched to the Soshanguve campus over a lack of accommodation. The university’s Soshanguve North and South campuses were closed due to protest action by students.

“It is not possible for the university to provide accommodation to all its students, however, it is constantly working on increasing the available space through the accreditation of private service providers,’’ TUT spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said. De Ruyter said the university’s total student enrolment for the year would be 63000.