Squatting at university hostels across South Africa is the latest issue that is being dealt with by universities and other private institutions.
According to Lacea Loader, Director of Communication and Brand Management at the University of the Free State (UFS), this is not an issue at the UFS.
Though squatting is against regulations, students who cannot afford accommodation on campuses squat with their friends. This problem occurs due to the high cost of accommodation and also the unavailability of accommodation due to hostels and houses being fully booked already. Loader confirmed that emergency accommodation is provided in cases where first-year students aren’t able to find the necessary accommodation immediately.
Sibongile Mohapi, a second-year student at the UFS said she has never seen squatting around the varsity. “It is my second year on campus and all my friends are practically in hostels. I have never experienced squatting. I live off campus and I must say, the off-campus accommodation is really great, especially with all the new units being built around the university.”
What makes the case of squatting absurd is the fact that two or three people live in a room that was meant for one person only, or to make matters even worse, the original owner of the room charges the squatter money to live in his or her room.
“In cases where there is no more accommodation on campus, students in Bloemfontein are referred to accredited accommodation providers of off-campus student accommodation,” Loader explained.