UBSRC sues over accommodation saga

UB accomodation blocks.Pic.Kagiso Onkatswitse
UB accomodation blocks.Pic.Kagiso Onkatswitse

The University of Botswana Student Representative Council (UBSRC) is preparing a legal suit against UB management for negligence after a new Residence Management System (RMS) was introduced leading to a mix-up on-campus accommodation billing.

The SRC is demanding that the matter be resolved by end of this week.

The student leaders say the problem has resulted in about 1,429 learners accommodated on-campus for the just ended semester getting paid allowances equivalent to those who reside outside varsity hostels. The former were credited P1,400 throughout the semester as opposed to the rightful P1,120. 

The student leadership argue that this has greatly inconvenienced completing students as some are still blocked from the UB system hence they cannot access their transcripts, and other crucial documents.

The blockage, explained SRC secretary general Setlhomo Tshwanelang, occurred after the Department of Tertiary Education Finance (DTEF) rejected the affected learners’ accommodation bill end of May.

DTEF said it could not settle the bill after realising that they had paid off-campus allowances, while in fact they resided on-campus. The department pays an accommodation bill of P3,300 per student per semester.

According to Tshwanelang, learners across all levels started experiencing the error in January, while for some it started as far back as August 2014.  Mmegi has leant from other sources that in two separate meetings held between the SRC and the UB management recently, the management made an undertaking to resolve the matter on Monday.

“The two promised that deputy vice chancellor - finance and administration Dawid Katzke was yesterday supposed to look at the consent letters that students have written and their suggested payment schedules in order to decide and approve the payment criterion,” Tshwanelang said.

He added that although some students were re-activated into the UB system, on June 27, 2015 just two days before supplementary exams, 100 others have been left behind.

“They can’t access their transcripts as a result, or any other crucial information for that matter and this has delayed their search for jobs and further studies,” he said. 

He accused the management of failing to address the problem when it was still fresh. According to the SRC, the RMS was adopted in March 2014 and implemented five months later in August and has showed many flaws.

“So automatically the system marked as off-campus those who stayed in different rooms hence the added allowance, that is why even those who were allocated bed-spaces in the middle of the semester could not be converted to on-campus status,” he explained.

As a result, the system proved difficult for the Student Welfare Department to handle, as the bulk of the campus residence rooms were empty for the entire semester, Tshwanelang added.

 UB public affairs manager, Mhitshane Reetsang yesterday noon told Mmegi she had forwarded inquiries to the institution’s accommodation department to better respond.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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