As many as 34 students from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) are in danger of being evicted after Nolwando Bomela, which provides private accommodation, lost its accreditation over alleged wrongdoing.
Affected students have received letters from Basil Mugwena, the UJ director for student life and governance at the Auckland Park campus, which say: “This memorandum serves to inform you that the University of Johannesburg has withdrawn accreditation that was granted to Nolwando Bomela for the year 2019 to 2023.”
However, the university insists the landlord breached the rules and would no longer be allowed to accommodate students.
“Nolwando Bomela violated the terms and conditions of their accreditation, hence the withdrawal. You are hereby advised to start serving Nolwando Bomela with written notice to vacate the property no later than April 30, 2019,” said the letter from the university dated March 30.
The letter ends: “Please visit the Privately Owned Student Accommodation (POSA) office nearest to you and they will assist you with a list of available alternative accommodation.”
Once a landlord loses the university’s accreditation, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) system can no longer pay rentals. Should the students decide to stay, they will have to pay rent from their own pockets.
Speaking to affected students on the move by the university, Bomela Campbell from Nolwando Bomela said: “I am not kicking you out, I don’t want you to leave. But go to the POSA office and listen to what they want to say to you since they want a meeting with you.
“What I can assure you is that if they move you from my premises I won’t be bankrupt. And I will make sure that my lawyers are informed about this because what they are doing is wrong.”
Campbell made his comments while addressing students at a meeting on Thursday that was held in Westdene.
But his words were cold comfort for BA psychology student, Mitchell Masemola, who said: “I’m in fear as I hate sharing, travelling and living in a place where I will have to top up. If I move out of here, it will frustrate me and this can affect my studies”.
Another worried student Thendo Thavhana said: “Accommodation that we find is usually for cash rather [than] NSFAS because of their process. UJ must give each student staying at private accommodation which is no longer accredited a cheque in the presence of owner to pay for
their rent bill.”
Responding to student concerns, Heledene Fourie, the NSFAS finance administrator at the Auckland park campus said: “There is nothing I can do to help you. Your landlord breached his contract. NSFAS will pay him for February, March, and April but after that, you guys should move to new accommodations. POSA will help you with that. Mr Campbell shouldn’t have even taken deposits from you. It is not allowed.”
– African News Agency