Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fund brings additional student apartments to Jozi

International Housing Solutions (IHS), a global private equity investor in affordable housing in South Africa, is funding the refurbishment of hundreds of apartments near the University of Johannesburg and Wits University, major public transport routes and shopping centres.
Previously co-owned by IHS and Aengus Property Holdings, IHS, with its sterling asset management reputation, now holds 100% ownership of the Student Digz property portfolio following the recent approval by the Competition Commission of the sizeable transaction.
“Student Digz differs from other student developments in that it is not based on the dormitory-style model. All apartments are self-contained, which means that students have their own bathrooms, kitchens and living spaces, and most importantly, privacy and quiet to ensure successful studies,” says Rob Wesselo, managing partner at IHS.
IHS has been steadily building up a portfolio of new-generation student housing solutions in the country’s major urban centres. Contrary to the popular view that student housing is an unpleasant mix between boarding school and down-market apartments, IHS has brought a new vision to the market.
“Since we have taken over complete control of the management of the development, we have launched a massive project to ensure all maintenance was completed and apartments refurbished where necessary. Lots of time, money and human resources have been poured into ensuring students have great living and studying space for the 2012 intake,” says Wesselo.
“The result is modern, clean and inviting apartments where students won’t only live, but be able to enjoy a satisfying lifestyle.”
Wesselo says that as the year draws to a close, students who will be studying in Joburg in 2012 should ensure they have accommodation lined before they put up their feet and enjoy the December holidays.
“There is a significant shortage in quality, affordable student rental accommodation in Joburg, and leaving these arrangements for the New Year may result in students being forced to stay far away from their tertiary institutions or having to settle for sub-standard accommodation,” says Wesselo.
He says there are close to 1 900 accommodation opportunities available, with rentals starting at R1 800; a new letting office has been opened in Braamfontein, and prospective students can visit the office, or contact letting agent Mafadi for enquiries.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Student Insurance Policy - A South African First

Student Insurance Policy (Launching February 2012)

Firststay Insurance Brokers, in collaboration with Santam Insurance and Let and Stay Student accommodation agency, have through extensive research and experience crafted a South African first, an affordable and relevant student insurance policy.

This policy, priced at R100 per month, will now offer the student staying in a shared accommodation environment, basic cover for a range of items as well as additional benefits. Benefits include;

Students and their parents are often financially and emotionally paralysed by theft or injury, severely affecting their ability to continue their studies successfully. This policy should mitigate this risk and allow them to focus on their studies.

The policy will be launching in February 2012 through relevant student accommodation and letting agents nationally. Agents that would be interested to offer this policy to their tenants can contact Ryno Diedericks at or 082 928 0170

The policy is underwritten by Santam and all claims will be administered by the Santam call centre. For more information on the policy please visit

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dept to help pay for 25 000 students waiting to graduate

Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System
Date: 26 May 2011
Title: Dept to help pay for 25 000 students waiting to graduate

Cape Town - The Department of Higher Education and Training is coming to the rescue of about 25 000 students from universities who have completed studies but are not able to graduate and get jobs because they have not finished paying student loans.

Briefing the media before his Budget Vote in Parliament today, the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, said his department would set aside about R200 million to help students who had taken out loans and had since graduated, but still owed monies to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Those who meet the requirements to graduate between 2000 and 2010, and who are eligible for NSFAS loans can apply for this special funding through their respective student financial-aid offices, he said.

Nzimande, who also made several other announcements on the NSFAS, said the new measure would apply to students that registered for loans from April 1.

These included a doubling of disbursements under the fund - from R2.7 billion in the 2010/11 financial year to R5.4 billion this financial year - and placing a limit on interest charged on student loans, so that students no longer have to pay the interest on their loans until 12 months after their graduation.

At present, interest charged on loans kicks in the moment you sign for a loan, unlike in Brazil and Canada, where interest payments on student loans only become payable after a student graduates.

Added to this, R50 million has been provided for post-graduate students who require financial assistance to complete their degrees.

These students will enter into loan agreements with the NSFAS and the money they pay back would be earmarked to fund post-graduate students, Nzimande, said.

But Nzimande hastened to add that this wasn't a license for other students to not pay back their NSFAS loans.

He said the department would approach SARS to assist in tracing and forcing those NSFAS loan beneficiaries, who are now working but are not paying back loans, to pay back their loans.

The department is also looking to increase the number of university accommodation available to students.

Currently only 18.5 percent of students stay in university accommodation and the department had set aside R686 million for the years between 2010 and 2012, to build and refurbish student residences, he said.

Nzimande said preliminary reports were being studied by the department on setting up universities in the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga, while work is also under way to increase the number of universities that offer courses for teachers that want to teach in African languages.

The department was also busy overhauling Further Education and Training (FET) colleges and department officials had already visited all 50 FET colleges to assess how to give hands-on support.

The minister said the career advice services programme, run by the South African Qualifications Authority (Saqa), was launched in January this year and a website was now up and running -, as well as a Facebook group -

The department is partnering with the SABC, which is running 30-minute career guidance slots on nine radio stations, reaching about 2.3 million listeners per week.

The programme is broadcast in nine African languages and Nzimande said the department intended expanding the radio programme to Afrikaans as well.

Turning to the transformation of the Skills Education and Training Authorities (Setas), Nzimande said the department was strengthening Seta governance and had reduced the number of Setas from 23 to 21.

He said the department is tackling underspending at Setas and has told boards to reduce the trend.

Setas would be reconfigured to spend more on long-term workplace-orientated training.

The department would also be setting up a task team to analyse where Setas spend money and how much use Setas make of public learning bodies, rather than just private consultants.

Commenting about media reports on the appointment of ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe's wife Nolwande as a member of the new Services Seta's board, Nzimande said Mrs Mantashe is a human-resource expert and should be seen on her own merits as a professional, rather than be judged on who she is married to.

Nzimande said the Green Paper on Higher Education would be released later this year.

The appointment of a new director general is in process and the department would begin interviewing candidates soon, he said.

Reported by: South African Government News Service

Business unusual at Public Works

Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System
Date: 02 Jun 2011
Title: Business unusual at Public Works

Pretoria - The Department of Public Works is set to embark on an ambitious programme that will see it invest in repairs and maintenance of government buildings, which will result in huge savings for the state.

The programme, announced by Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde on Wednesday during her inaugural Budget Vote in Parliament, will be undertaken by the department in three years.

"Investment in repair and maintenance, continuous maintenance and construction of new government buildings could generate major savings for the state ... This will also include ensuring the relocation of national departments to state owned buildings where it is feasible to do so," said Mahlangu.

She noted that the leasing portfolio was costing the state a lot of money, where in the past year alone, her department spent billions in leases and functional accommodation for client departments.

"We acknowledge that our lease portfolio will take a while to reduce but in the interim, the department will continue to find ways to structure its current leases such that the socio-economic goals of government are realised including black, women and youth economic empowerment," said the minister.

Mahlangu said the department would invoke the National Infrastructure Maintenance Strategy and the National Contractor Development Programme to target investment in this sector, a move that would also benefit small and emerging contractors.

With regards to the rehabilitation of unused as well as underutilised public buildings, the department will in collaboration with the Department of Higher Education, convert these buildings to provide affordable student accommodation where it is possible.

The upgrading and refurbishment of the HG De Witt building in Tshwane will result in accommodation for approximately 180 students, while the upgrading and refurbishment of Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein will result in accommodation for about 700 students.

"Through this intervention, the department is looking at alleviating the problem of lack of decent student accommodation while creating job opportunities," explained the minister.

The department will also rehabilitate selected military bases, while it is also paying attention to the deteriorating state of the infrastructure at harbours, starting in Cape Town.

Turning the focus to accommodation needs of the South African Police Service, Mahlangu said in the year under review, these will be extensive given the need to fast-track the goal of creating "a safe and secure South African society."

She said infrastructure projects were solid proof of government's commitment to service delivery.

"Furthermore, and with respect to the SAPS portfolio, I wish to announce that in the current financial year, the department will complete the first ever state-of-the-art Forensic Laboratory for SAPS in Cape Town," said the minister.

The department will also launch a campaign to encourage South Africans to reclaim lost or missing immovable assets.

"We will soon launch the Amnesty Campaign aptly named 'Operation Bring Back' in order to encourage South Africans to reclaim lost and/or missing immovable assets. These properties, we believe, were insincerely wrested from the state in the turbulent transitional period following the demise of apartheid and were being unlawfully occupied.

"The significance of the state-owned real estate as a major revenue generator for government cannot be over-emphasised," said Mahlangu.

She said once recovered, the properties will either enhance the department's disposal programme or contribute positively to the Inner City Regeneration programme in revitalising the economy.

Reported by: South African Government News Service

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Task team to review student accommodation challenge

Eyewitness News

Government admitted that student accommodation is a major challenge as more and more students leave their home towns to further their education.

Education officials briefed Parliament’s Higher Education and Training Portfolio Committee on the issue on Tuesday.

It said it needs R5 billion over the next three years to improve infrastructure at universities.

Acting Deputy Director-General of Universities Kirti Menon, said about 800,000 students need accommodation and some university towns are feeling the pressure.

“This is particularly evident in the cities like Johannesburg or Pretoria or Cape Town,” she said.

Menon said this is a problem faced by both developing and developed countries.

She added that a task team has been set up to review the issue and study international practices.

(Edited by Lindiwe Mlandu)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Quicker student loans on the cards


17-Nov-2010 | Sapa

"The implications of this are far reaching," Qualifications Verification Services (QVS) managing director Danie Strydom said in a statement.

"It means, among other things, that student loans can be granted much quicker so that individuals can pay for tuition and buy books sooner than before," he said.

In the past, students had to obtain a letter from the university to confirm that they had registered.

This had to be presented to the bank where the student had applied for a loan.

It usually took several days for the bank to verify the authenticity of the letter before funds became available.

"By replicating the computer database of the university, the whole process can take place on-line and student registrations can be verified in seconds rather than the days that it took previously," Strydom said.

QVS's announcement had raised serious interest, and all the major banks would gather at the University of the Free State on Thursday where they would be fully briefed on the new service.

Seven universities had already subscribed to the new QVS services and would implement them soon.

Student registrations and qualification verifications currently live on the QVS system were the University of Johannesburg, Tshwane University of Technology, and the University of the Free State.

Other universities in implementation stages were the University of Stellenbosch, Durban University of Technology, and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

The new on-line service would also save the banks millions in lost revenue by informing them when students had terminated their studies, thus becoming ineligible for the reduced interest rate loans, he said.

They would also immediately have to start repaying their loans.

"Banks risk losing millions of rand every year by students absconding and not repaying their loans.

"Our new product will keep banks and other role players, such as trustees of bursary funds, up to date on the status of every student on a day-to-day basis," Strydom said.

Students would be required to give permission to have their details made known on the database and would have full access themselves to ensure that the correct information was displayed.

The system was secure and fully automated in the sense that computers, rather than human beings, did the processing.

It could also be audited to ensure that no mistakes slipped in, he said.

Students must re-pay their loans


12-Jan-2011 | Anna Majavu

THE National Student Financial Aid Scheme says students who have borrowed money must repay their loans

President Jacob Zuma announced on Saturday that, from this year on, needy final- year students who qualified for NSFAS loans would be given enough money to cover their fees and living expenses.

Students had complained in the past that their loans did not provide money for food and transport, leading many to drop out.

Zuma also said if final-year students passed, their NSFAS loans would be converted into bursaries which they would not have to repay.

Yesterday NSFAS quickly moved to put a damper on student hopes that they would all get full loans this year.

"There appears to be some confusion regarding the announcement on the status of existing and new NSFAS loans and the responsibility of students to repay their debt obligations," said NSFAS chief executive Ashley Seymour.

He said people who had borrowed from the NSFAS must start making repayments if they were now earning R2500 or more a month.

He said final year students benefiting from Zuma's new scheme would still have to repay money borrowed in their first and second years.

NSFAS spokesperson Bonny Feldman said that while NSFAS recommends that students get a maximum of R54,000 a year to cover all their costs, this decision lay with the universities.

Instellings oorval

Instellings oorval
Die Beeld
2011-01-11 23:34

Alet Rademeyer en Loren Pienaar

Teleurstelling en wanhoop het duisende studente gister by universiteite in Gauteng begroet waar hulle ure lank in lang toue gewag het om aansoek om toelating tot instellings te doen.

Baie moes hoor dat daar nie meer plekke beskikbaar is in die studierigtings wat hulle wil volg nie. Talle se punte het nie aan toelatingsvereistes voldoen nie en baie het geen idee gehad wat hulle wil studeer nie.

Die Universiteit van Johannesburg (UJ) is sover die ergste geraak met meer as 30 000 laat aansoeke wat ingestroom het.

Prof. Marie Muller, registrateur van UJ, het gesê die toename in getalle kan toegeskryf word aan die beter matriekuitslae wat kandidate vir hoër onderwys laat kwalifiseer.

Meer as 126 000 van 2010 se matrikulante het toelating tot graadstudies gekry.

Muller het ook gesê UJ word oorval deur aansoekers wat nie in 2010 toelating gekry het nie omdat hulle gr.?11-punte nie aan die toelatingsvereistes voldoen het nie.

Volgens hul gr. 12-uitslae voldoen hulle nou wel.

UJ het in 2010 meer as 63 000 aansoeke van eerstejaars gekry, terwyl daar vir net 13 000 plek is.

By die Tshwane-universiteit van Tegnologie (TUT) en Unisa se kampus is Pretoria was daar ook lang toue voornemende studente.

By TUT is van die studente later meegedeel dat hulle by ander instellings moet gaan aanklop omdat al die programme reeds gevul is.

Mnr. Nico Dietsiso (18) van Kroonstad in die Vrystaat was gistermiddag die laaste een in die UJ-ry.

Hy het gesê dit het hom sowat R1 200 aan kos, verblyf en vervoer gekos om daar te wees, terwyl hy ook vyf uur lank op ’n trein na Johannesburg was.
Me. Francis Inama van Soshanguve wou vir uitvoerende kunste by TUT inskryf. Sy moes egter hoor dat haar 32% in wiskundige gelettterdheid, 48% in Engels, 45% in verbruikerstudies en 42% in toerisme nie goed genoeg is nie.

Me. Irene Lephale (21) wou verpleegkunde of kliniese tegnologie studeer en moes hoor al die plekke is gevul.

Sy het in 2009 matriek geskryf en verlede jaar haar punte in die aanvullende eksamen verbeter. Met 59% vir lewenswetenskappe, 46% vir fisiese wetenskappe, 43% vir wiskunde en 49% vir Engels het sy gesê sy gaan haar uitslae weer probeer verbeter.

By Unisa het me. Nonhlanhla Shongwe gesê sy het al die pad van Paul Pietersburg in KwaZulu-Natal gekom in die hoop om onderwys te studeer.

Me. Doreen Gough, woordvoerder van Unisa, het gesê tussen 10% en 15% van studente wat net opdaag, moet weggewys word.

TUT het in ’n verklaring op die gevare gewys van ouers wat hul kinders universiteite toe stuur sonder dat daar vir hulle verblyf is. Van die studente bring nagte voor die universiteitshekke deur in ’n poging om toelating te kry.

Die universiteit het studente ook gewaarsku om nie enige geld of dokumente aan mense te oorhandig wat beweer hulle kan vir hulle ’n plek verseker nie.

Bleak future for late applicants at UJ

Many of the prospective students flocking to the University of Johannesburg may not get in at all, the institution. From Monday, thousands of people descended on the university, trying to secure a last minute spot in the first-year class of 2011. UJ's registrar, Professor Marie Muller, said the flurry of late applications could be attributed to the greater number of National Senior Certificate holders in Gauteng that obtained university admission in the 2010 exams, compared to last year. Muller said students were still queuing outside the university on Tuesday. Some had applied with their grade 11 results in 2010, were rejected, but fared better in their matric exams and were trying to get in on the strength of those results.

Matthews Baloyi, The Star

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

R150m financial aid boost for students

11 January 2011

South Africa has allocated an additional R150-million to its National Student Financial Aid Scheme to help tackle the backlog of scarce skills in the country.

Making the announcement in Pretoria on Monday, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said that, through the National Skills Fund, the government had set aside R22.9-million for funding 820 first-year students and R7-million for a bursary scheme targeting rural students who did exceptionally well in the 2010 Grade 12 exams.

R21-million had been set aside for 300 first-year bursaries for students with disabilities, with the balance of R99.1-million to be allocated to students who were already studying in fields of scarce skills.

Career Wise bursaries

The National Skills Fund will also be allocating R100-million Career Wise bursaries in the following categories:

* R17-million to fund 258 first-year students.
* R4-million for the Dipaleseng Special Bursary Scheme.
* R4.6-million for 67 first-year bursaries.
* R11.5-million to support 245 first-year students pursuing studies in chartered accountancy at the University of Fort Hare.

In a bid to ease access to Further Education and Training colleges and help the country to meet its needs for intermediate and technical skills, hard-working students from poor families would this year be exempted from paying academic fees.

The bursary, to be allocated to students whose parents earn a combined salary of R122 000 per annum, will cover tuition, accommodation, meals and transport costs.

However, Nzimande called on recipients to work hard, as the department will be monitoring their performances, warning that if they failed to produce good marks, the bursary would be forfeited.

"This is not a free ride, we require students to work hard," he said. "You can't continue to get a bursary if you don't deliver."

Career guidance

Nzimande also announced that his department and the South African Qualifications Authority had entered into a partnership with the SABC to provide pupils with information on career guidance.

The career information will be broadcast on all Nguni radio stations.

"Our aim is to ensure that information flows to rural schools and that no learners go to school without such information. It should be made available earlier in their schooling careers."

Pupils and ex-pupils can get advice from the career advice website or from the Career Advice Helpline on 0860 111 673. The helpline can also be contacted via SMS on 072 2045 056 or by e-mailing

Source: BuaNews

Late UJ applicants cause traffic jams

January 10 2011 at 07:05pm
IOL news students registration01

Independent Newspapers

Around 30,000 late applicants at the University of Johannesburg, mostly on its Kingsway campus, caused heavy traffic jams in the area.

About 30 000 late applicants at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), mostly on its Kingsway campus, caused heavy traffic jams in the area on Monday, Johannesburg metro police said.

“The applicants were parking on Kingsway road and this made traffic very heavy... it was severely congested,” said Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar.

He said traffic was affected from midday until about 5pm.

UJ's registrar, Professor Marie Muller, said the flood in late applications could be attributed to the increase in the “number of National Senior Certificate holders in Gauteng that obtained University admission in the 2010 exams”, compared to last year.

The university received 63 400 applications for 2011 first year undergraduate studies in the dedicated application period in 2010.

“The university's pre-selection is based on grade 11 results and UJ conditionally admitted 17 500 applicants.”

University spokesperson Herman Esterhuizen said some of these accepted applicants may have applied to other universities and so would not actually enrol at UJ, in which case there would be some available spaces for late applicants.

“Every late applicant that arrived today was given an application form... but some were still upset because they thought that they could arrive at the university and register. It just doesn't work like that.

“Some applicants were quite upset and had to be escorted off the campus.”

Muller said UJ may enrol 48 000 students in 2011 and this included all undergraduate and postgraduate students.

She also reminded applicants that “compliance with the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee a study place at UJ”. -