"They end up in the streets, selling their bodies (to make ends meet)," he said. Ngonyama said the metro was providing accommodation for the students, "as a caring council". The sites identified for the development of student accommodation are in Struben, Potgieter, Bloed, Schubart, Bosman and Boom Streets and are currently used by a number of businesses which include a panel-beating workshop, a scrap yard (for the council's emergency vehicles), parking, a chemist and a car parts shop.
The project will be undertaken in phases, with the first phase expected to be developed on the site bounded by Struben Street to the south, 7th Street to the east, Bloed Street to the north and Lorentz Street to the west.The site comprises 159 erven which will have to be consolidated prior to the development.The site was previously leased to Putco and was used as a bus depot.
Phase two comprises seven sites, all the north of the central business district (CBD).The second phase will be undertaken once phase one has been completed. It has been proposed that phase two be earmarked for mixed-use development to make way for student accommodation and other uses.
According to the council report, there are numerous council-owned properties in the northern and western part of the CBD and most of the properties are either leased out or vacant and derelict.
DA Councillor Kate Prinsloo complained that the matter had not been placed before the Standing Committee for Economic Development and Planning and/or its predecessors, adding that it had far-reaching financial implications for the city "and needs to be thoroughly investigated".
Prinsloo said indications were that the properties were currently being used as a taxi holding bay. "In view of the fact that the Bloed Street taxi rank is already running at full capacity, extensive input needs to be received from public transport as to where the current overflow will otherwise be accommodated," she said.
Prinsloo said none of the identified properties was near the tertiary institutions identified in the report and proper prior consultation with these institutions should take place before the proposal could be considered.
She added: "We (DA) are, however, on a principled level not opposed to the redevelopment of the areas, but want to see it done in a well considered, strategically sound and sustainable manner." Tshwane plans student accommodation in central location.