The Department of Higher Education and Training has revealed an average of R11.9 billion per annum was spent on student accommodation in 2021 and 2022.
Despite this, the department acknowledged there are insufficient beds to accommodate students at universities around the country.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said the issues around student accommodation are being taken seriously by the department. This is after the minister revealed that he had been inundated with student complaints who have been evicted by landlords.
Nzimande says that more oversight will be exercised by his department concerning funds handed to institutions for accommodation. This, as he believes it is irresponsible to hand over money without ensuring the money, is being put to good use.
Nsfas will take a more proactive role regarding student accommodation to ensure they are receiving value for money. This will include standardising the cost and quality by grading student accommodation and paying a standard rate based on the grading of each type of accommodation.
The minister said the department looks to create more bed capacity at universities and TVET colleges. Several pilot programmes will soon get underway as the department looks to find solutions to the shortage of beds at institutions of higher learning.
He added that the announcements will be made concerning the bed capacity challenges later this year.
“The building of more infrastructure for student accommodation remains a priority for the government, and I intend to accelerate such construction, including through partnerships with the private sector,” said Nzimande.