The demand for student accommodation at Nelson Mandela University in the Port Elizabeth outweighs the existing supply.

This has created a greater need for additional, accredited accommodation off campus and that is something that is in short supply.

The announcement of free education by former President Jacob Zuma has seen an increase of tertiary students around the country.

Last year NMU welcomed 6100 first years. That number is expected to jump to 7500.

Finding accommodation is already a challenge.

NMU spokesperson Zandile Mbombela says: “The University has so far accredited 9 156 off-campus beds, up from about 6 600 last year. We always make sure that the places that we accredit meet the national standards of off campus accommodation and then on top of that our team goes out to go and check that the place is conducive for learning and then in March and April we also do a follow up to see that students are well accommodated.”

While some students have been fortunate to find reputable off campus accommodation others have not been so lucky.

“The showers are so old and it’s always dirty. it’s not a nice place to live it isn’t especially as a first year where you don’t know anything. There are cockroaches everywhere and it’s in such a bad condition, even the lifts don’t work.”

“The living conditions there are not good at all. The walls are chipped, its old and despite promises for the place to be renovated, it still is the same.”

The University says accrediting properties for student accommodation is of paramount importance as it ensures students occupy spaces that are conducive to learning.