Late last month the Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, announced that government would start handing over unused state-owned buildings to universities in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Sedibeng to use for academic learning.
In light of that, over the weekend, representatives from the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the University of Witwatersrand (Wits), Central Johannesburg Technical College, Unisa, the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) and the Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco), met to discuss ways in which they could assist in the provision of affordable quality student accommodation.
According to IOL News, the City of Joburg said that the workshop provided a platform for the representatives to highlight the requirements and give input into the city’s existing programmes.
“Since the launch of the Inner City Revitalisation Programme in October 2017, 154 City-owned properties have been released by council for mixed use development by the private sector. A portion of these properties will be embarked for development for student accommodation,” said the city’s Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) of Development Planning, Reuben Masango.
The City of Joburg added that while student accommodation is not the responsibility of the city, they recognised that there is a growing demand for safe and affordable options for students throughout the region and that they were committed in playing a proactive role in addressing these challenges.
IOL News also noted that the issues raised by the higher education institutions included the collaboration in the design of student precincts, affordability, correct profiling of students who should benefit from this project, public safety for student accommodation off campus and availability and access to social amenities.
“Joshco is completing the Nederburg Building Project, which is the first building to be used for student accommodation. Targeted for completion in June this year, it will provide 120 beds for students, in addition to this an additional three projects are in the pipeline with Joshco,” added Masango.
“This will be additional 1 257 beds, and JPC is working to identify strategic land parcels or properties located in close proximity to institutions of higher learning that could be used for the development of student accommodation,” he concluded.