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ujNews24 reports that furniture worth more than R1 million, R250,000 for "decorations", R243,821 for appliances, R165,581 for an intercom system and R36,000 for a skylight are some of the requisitions approved for a makeover for the official residence of the vice-chancellor (VC) of the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi.

The individual items that were approved totalled R3 million. The refurbishment of Mpedi's residence was apparently one of the agenda items at a recent council meeting. His term of office started on 1 March 2023. According to the documentation, order numbers were generated for the decorations, pot plants and vases, window treatment, intercom system, electrical, network connection points to visitors' rooms, additional gym equipment, ceiling downlights and globes and wireless beams. Nonetheless, according to sources, the former VC, Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, experienced a situation where the ceiling collapsed, and he and his family had to be put up at a hotel one New Year's Eve. SA Union of Students spokesperson Asive Dlanjwa condemned the refurbishment costs, saying the R3 million could have been used to pay for the registration fees of 700 UJ students at the beginning of the year. Norman Malume of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA at UJ said they were not fully aware of the costs of the refurbishment, however, “workers should have been prioritised by being given salary increases. The R3 million could have been used to provide salary increases for the lowest paid workers for 18 months." UJ spokesperson Lebogang Seale said the decision to renovate the VC’s residence and other assets was the responsibility of its facilities management division and “neither the current vice-chancellor nor his predecessors get involved in decisions regarding the renovation and maintenance of university properties.”

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Prega Govender at News24

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