Pact to tackle Gauteng student housing backlog

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Pretoria – The Gauteng Provincial Government has signed a declaration of intent with the Department of Higher Education and Training to help address the dearth of student accommodation.

The agreement was signed on Thursday during the Symposium on Student Housing in Pretoria. It is hailed as the first step towards using the provincial government’s R31 billion immovable assets register to help resolve the infrastructure requirements of Higher Education.

The Gauteng Infrastructure Development Department will donate land to universities and technical vocational education and training (TVET) institutions.

Donations will be made to the University of South Africa (UNISA), University of Pretoria, University of Johannesburg and the Vaal University of Technology, among others.

Speaking at the symposium at UNISA in Pretoria, Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure Development Jacob Mamabolo said the signing of the declaration has the potential to change how government uses its immovable assets to address the problem of student accommodation.

“As government, we will ensure that we stick to our end of the deal. We will make sure that within three months, concrete plans are on the table to make this process a reality.

“Ours is to ensure that we use the people’s assets in the form of our province’s R31 billion worth of property in line with the Constitution and other prescripts of the law to ensure that we dent the legacy of apartheid spatial planning,” said MEC Mamabolo.

He urged all sectors of society, including Higher Education, to make a commitment to protect the assets that are an investment on behalf of the people of Gauteng.

“We cannot afford to continue to deliver infrastructure, only for it to be destroyed by non-caring elements of our society. We therefore plead with Higher Education that they should display the commitment by signing the ‘I Care We Care’ pledge and lead the group of people, who have been saying community property cannot continue to be undermined,” said the MEC.