24 April 2019

​City of Joburg in talks with universities to
assist with the provision of affordable student housing

Last week Monday, 11 April 2019, the City of
Johannesburg hosted a workshop with various institutions of higher learning as
well as their various student representatives to discuss how it could assist in
the provision of affordable, quality student accommodation.

MMC for Development Planning, Reuben Masango said
that while student accommodation was not the competency of the city, this
administration recognised “that there is a growing demand for safe and
affordable options for students throughout the city – in light of the demand,
we are committed to playing a proactive role in addressing these challenges”.

He said the City of Joburg is finalising a
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the
University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), the University of South Africa (UNISA)
and various TVET Colleges. The MoU identifies key areas of collaboration
between the City and universities represented, with student accommodation identified
as a primary concern.

The workshop, attended by representatives from the
University of Johannesburg, University of Witwatersrand, Central Johannesburg
Technical College, UNISA and the City gave the Johannesburg Property Company
(JPC) and the Johannesburg Social Housing Company (JOSHCO) an opportunity to
present the progress made by the city to date. 

Some of these initiatives include:

•           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 earmarked for
development for student accommodation;

•           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 3 projects are in the pipeline with JOSHCO, and
will add an additional 1257 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.

The workshop also provided a platform for
representatives from the institutions of higher learning, including students,
to highlight their requirements and give input into the City’s existing
programmes. Issues raised by the institutions of higher learning included:

•           The
collaboration in the design of student precincts.

•           Affordability
of student accommodation.

•           Correct
profiling of students who should benefit from this project.

•           Public
safety for student accommodation located off campus.

•           The
availability and access to social amenities.

Masango said: “The ability of students to
successfully complete their higher education courses and add to Johannesburg’s
economic growth is directly influenced by the ease in which they are able to do

“I therefore believes it is crucial to make
studying as free as possible from unnecessary stressors like finding affordable
accommodation. I am looking forward to further collaboration with these
institutions of higher learning through the MoU. This will undoubtedly bring
the necessary change needed in order to allow students to thrive.”

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