The University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) administration has formed a team to establish why cracks have appeared on a newly built hostel block.
Prof David Mfinanga, UDSM deputy vice chancellor in charge of administration, told The Citizen yesterday that the three-member team was led by a senior lecturer in structural engineering, Dr Paul Ndumbaro.
“The team has already carried out a preliminary investigation and concluded that students’ safety has not been compromised as a result of the cracks. The team is also working with the Tanzania Building Agency to determine remedial measures that should be taken,” he said in a telephone interview.
Students who spoke to The Citizen said cracks running from the ground floor to the third floor of Block A were a serious safety risk. The affected block is among six hostel blocks that were officially opened by President John Magufuli earlier this year.
A member of the Dar es Salaam University Students Organisation (Daruso), Mr Simon Masenga, said he first saw the cracks two weeks ago.
“When the hostel manager was informed, he said the buildings were still under TBA and that the matter would be taken care of as soon as possible,” he said.
Another Daruso member, Mr Kumbusho Dawson said apart from the cracks, the buildings also had a defective drainage system in bathrooms.
He was supported by Mr Kenny Christopher, an IT engineering student, who added that ventilation was also an issue.
“This is bad for our health,” he said.
Pictures showing cracks on the buildings began circulating on social media on Sunday, prompting concern among students, parents and guardians.
TBA chief executive Elius Mwakalinga confirmed yesterday that cracks had appeared on expansion joints.
“Expansion joints are meant to allow adjustment of the buildings. Every hostel block has three expansion joints,” he said, adding: “The time required for the buildings to adjust varied according to the type of soil where they were constructed and the length of the buildings.”
He said the agency would assess all six blocks and repair any faults that would be discovered, noting that TBA was still responsible for any fault since it was less than a year since the buildings were handed over.
Mr Mwakalinga added that students would not be relocated during the exercise expected to take one week.
Mr Mwakalinga refuted reports that the hostel project cost in excess of Sh50 billion, saying TBA spent Sh10 billion as directed by President John Magufuli.
“It seems that pictures posted on social media were meant to tarnish the image of the Fifth Phase government, which has embarked on far-reaching cost-cutting measures,” he said.