According to UFS management, for an off-campus residence to be accredited by the university, it must meet the minimum student accommodation requirements as defined by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) for funding via students.
The residence in the village of Botjabela where the attack took place has only been verified but not accredited.
The UFS said in a briefing on Wednesday that they check off-campus accommodation for their students, but verified premises do not always meet accreditation requirements. Despite this, it appears the police are on the heels of a breakthrough in the case.
Free State police are investigating a possible link between a house robbery that took place in Phamong village on Monday as well as the brutal attack on a group of students from the Free State University (UFS ) in the village of Botjhabela the previous week. Major General Arthur Adams announced that the modus operandi in the two crimes was similar and therefore a link was under investigation.
In both cases, cash, laptops and cell phones were claimed by the attackers. It is revealed that in the second house robbery which took place in Phamong village five days after the students’ one, two of the three suspects were shot and wounded during a brawl with one of the victims and, as a result, title, receive supervised medical care at a local hospital in the Eastern Free State. General Adams provides details on the nationalities of suspects under surveillance / custody.
“I can confirm that the two suspects under police surveillance for the second incident are nationals of Lesotho, but had been residing in the area for some time when the incidents occurred,” says Adams.
A third Free State University student is still recovering at Mofumahadi Manapo Regional Hospital after the attack last week by four masked armed men. The other victim of the first attack was a student at the Technical and Vocational Education and Training College (TVET) in Maluti. The deceased from UFS has been identified as first-year social science student Sigcino Zimba from KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and second-year administration student Thabani Manqele, also from KZN.
The incident prompted a scathing reaction from the Union of South African Students (SAUS). SAUS national spokesperson and former UFS Student Representative Council (SRC) President Asive Dlanjwa said, âThe reality is that the deaths of these students further highlight the devastating state of student accommodation in the South African higher education sector, particularly off campus or private student accommodation.
âIn fact, the lack of adequate housing in the area, by implication, makes the higher education department and universities complicit in senseless murders of students. On average, universities were able to accommodate less than 20% of students in safe and acceptable student accommodation, leaving around 80% of them in unaffordable and atrocious living conditions, exposing them to endless criminal elements. . The recent murder of Nosicelo at the University of Fort Hare could also be directly attributed to the appalling condition of student accommodation in the wider higher education sector, âadds Dlanjwa.