Over the next few weeks, the Gauteng provincial government will start handing over a number of buildings to the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) to help address the acute shortage of student accommodation.
As part of the provincial government’s adopted policy to release land and unused and underused State-owned properties to universities and colleges, all universities in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Sedibeng will benefit from the release of land and the leasing of State-owned buildings.
“As the custodian of the provincial government’s R31-billion Immovable Asset Register, the [provincial] Department of Infrastructure Development embarked on a process to identify available and underused government property that would be made available to institutions of higher learning,” Gauteng Premier David Makhura said in a statement on Wednesday.
As part of the province's Rapid Land Release Programme land was previously also handed over to the University of South Africa to build a new state-of-the art learning centre in Johannesburg's central business district.
“In 2017, the Gauteng provincial government signed a memorandum of understanding with all Gauteng-based universities [regarding] collaboration on socioeconomic development initiatives in areas such as advanced skills development, innovation, research and development, student accommodation, safety, public transport services and infrastructure development,” he explained.
The provincial government has also identified underused government buildings that will be renovated in partnership with universities and the private sector and leased to universities for student accommodation.
Other prime land parcels that will be released to higher learning institutions include the Old Pathology building, at 14 Kotze street, in Johannesburg; the TMI building, at 157 Joubert street, in Johannesburg; the Transwerke building, portion 84 of the Farm Braamfontein 53 IR, in Sam Hancock street, in Braamfontein; the Karel Schoeman building, at 179 Nana Sita street, in Pretoria; and the De Villiershof building, at 140 and 143 Joubert street and 144 and 145 Steve Biko street, in Pretoria.