Wits University dental students claim the institution is making them work in crowded and untenable conditions, saying that since the Wits Oral Health department was moved from Braamfontein to the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital in 2001, they have been forced to work in cramped, unsafe spaces with inadequate equipment.
The fire that damaged the hospital this year made things worse, the Wits Dental Council representatives said.
Speaking to News24, the students said: "Wits charges … students the highest tuition fees in Africa, yet we [are] training under inhumane conditions to the extent of sewage spills from the roof [on]to clinical staff and students. From the beginning the space was insufficient, even when it was clear that the premises posed a hazard to health and safety and even posed a death trap in the event of a fire, but [sic] the cries were ignored."
Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel admitted the fire had affected students’ clinical training and said the university was “working tirelessly to ensure that the academic programme is completed”. She added that the university was “in discussion with the hospital management and the Gauteng Department of Health to ensure we resolve this matter”.
Patel said there was misinformation regarding the closure of the school, noted News24. "No such decision has been made, and we encourage staff, students, parents, the media and community to read communications from the faculty and not rely on fake news circulating on social media."
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