Pretoria – “Students were thrown off campus when they protested at the unfair allocation of residences to students from financially well-off backgrounds, the majority of whom were white”, said EFF Student Command chairperson at Tuks, Kabelo Mahlobogwane.

The University of Pretoria (Tuks) #UPResCrisis Twitter hashtag and pictures of students sleeping in toilets and on the street were staged, the University of Pretoria has said.

Student accommodation was not a crisis at the university, Tuks spokesperson Rikus Delport said.

The response followed numerous tweets of black students allegedly being assaulted and thrown off campus by the university’s security personnel.

The tweets surfaced on Monday night and caused a stir.

Last year, a similar res crisis featured with the hashtag #Shackville, occurred at the University of Cape Town (UCT) where students erected a shack on UCT upper campus as a symbol of the struggle for student housing and financial exclusions which was later demolished by security of the institution.

Mahlobogwane further added that, “We have black students coming from formerly disadvantaged communities in neighbouring provinces who are battling to find accommodation because the university gives preference to white students.

“When students took to raising this issue they were thrown off campus and on to the street. A pregnant student was also assaulted in the altercation,” he said.

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The university denies #UPResCrisis claims but Delport said the university and the Temporary Student Committee engaged with a group of students who claimed to be without accommodation on Monday and offered accommodation to all of them for the night, but they had refused.

“We’ve since discovered that out of the group of 10 students, four were already placed in residences, three were not students and one had outstanding financial issues.

The university found permanent accommodation for the other two.

“We also have reason to believe that the pictures of students apparently without accommodation on social media have been staged.”

Delport said the university was committed to and would do everything in its control to ensure that within the limits of space available, eligible students were assisted.

“Unfortunately university accommodation is limited but we are able to accommodate approximately 15% of the UP student population.”

“We assist students to find places at accredited accommodation providers and we will do everything in our control to ensure that students are accommodated.”

As for tweets of a pregnant student being injured and assaulted at the Hatfield campus, Delport said they condemned all violence against students and encouraged the complainant to report the matter so it can be investigated.

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