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In a massive boost for its on-campus accommodation offering, Nelson Mandela University has opened the first of three new student residences – totalling 1 800 beds – that are set for completion at its Gqeberha campuses this year.

This is part of the University’s continuing efforts to mitigate the ongoing challenge of inadequate student accommodation on campus, which has been exacerbated in recent years by the influx of students from poor and working-class backgrounds as access to higher education widens.

The 500-bed residence, which includes various sustainability interventions and uses a novel construction method, forms part of the University’s broader infrastructure plans, based on its award-winning urban design framework. The latter provides a blueprint for the institution’s long-term development of campus spaces.

The new residence, situated behind the Sanlam Student Village (SSV) and the Ocean Sciences Campus, will be followed by the opening of a second residence with 300 beds in the same vicinity in April. Thereafter, a further 1000 beds are due for completion in October.

This adds to the 200-bed residence that was opened on George Campus last year, which makes up the 2000-bed additional on-campus residence capacity first mooted a few years ago after government infrastructure grants made provision for a residence portion.

Given the continued incremental demand for student accommodation and the equally important need for prudence and financial sustainability in the institution, Mandela University opted not to use the funding allocations as they are, but to pool the funding to create a sustainable funding model towards the 2000-bed residence.

Mandela University is the first known institution nationally to deploy the PERI UNO method of construction, which is maintenance-friendly, offers both good ventilation and insulation – dependent on the weather – and is easy to adapt in terms of extensions or interior changes. The novel building method is used extensively around the world for similar projects.

The new residence consists of four blocks, each comprising 15 to 16 pods. Each of the pods, or living areas, accommodates eight students in four double rooms, and comes complete with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities, as well as shared common rooms.

Special provision has been made for differently-abled students, the inclusion of some single rooms, and for dedicated living quarters for residence staff.

In keeping with the University’s sustainability drive, the new residences will have access to borehole water. The borehole, which had lain unused for years, will feed all the toilets, along with tanks to catch rainwater run-off. This gravity-based water system is aimed at countering the challenges caused by water shortages.

Potable water tanks have also been installed to assist in times of emergency, especially considering the ongoing water scarcity and power outages.

While budget would not allow the incorporation of PV solar panels, the three-storey pods have been constructed to allow for their introduction at a later stage.

Medical school students and those from the Sarah Baartman residence, which is undergoing renovations, were among the first students to move into the new residence.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777