President Zuma visited the university on Tuesday to inspect the study and living conditions of students at the institution.
The visit, which was part of the Presidential Siyahlola Monitoring Programme, forms part of government's Youth Month programme, which focuses on education, skills development and job creation.
The day started with a tour at the female and male residences in the North campus, where students raised a number of concerns with the President.
Some of the problems included difficulties in accessing bursaries, dilapidated bathrooms in the female residences and shortage of accommodation.
Rose Mbokani, a third year Public Relations student, appealed to the President to help improve their living conditions.
Some students said they were happy at the campus, while others admitted that they didn’t get bursaries because they didn’t apply on time.
The President, who also wanted to know more about the courses they were studying, shared some advice to final year students.
“You have to be active when looking for a job. Instead of relying on sending applications, you need to be touching base with them [employers],” he told one student, who is doing her final year in Correctional Services Management.
The President also visited the Botho Socio-Psychology Centre, a youth skills development centre, which has been adopted by TUT integrated communication department students as a corporate social investment project.
Later in the day, the President made his way to a packed TUT hall in the South campus, where students and community members were waiting to hear the President’s address.
Addressing the crowd, President Zuma said the visit was a result of the complaints received from students a few months ago.
He assured the students and the community that the complaints, which also included disturbances caused by three shebeens which operate at the entrance have been attended to.
“The bathrooms at the female residences have been refurbished. However, the condition in some of the male residences requires attention, including the need to fix lifts.
“The critical shortage of accommodation is being addressed. The Department of Higher Education has relocated the students who were ‘squatting’ at Botho Centre to a university residence,” the President said.
He also urged the community to contribute by providing accommodation to the destitute students, noting that many are willing to pay rent if they find suitable accommodation.
The President further voiced his concerns on the nature of protests on the campus, which sometimes become violent.
Among the reports include the burning of 18 cars by students during the past protest.
President Zuma urged students to use peaceful means of exercising their democratic right to protest and raise issues.
“Remember that as young people you are leaders of the future. You should lead by example and not use violence to solve problems.”