DUT students cry foul over financial exclusion

2015-07-30 06:00
PHOTO: nokulunga ngobese

Lectures have been disrupted at DUTand#039;s Indumiso campus as students protest against financial exclusion.

PHOTO: nokulunga ngobese Lectures have been disrupted at DUTand#039;s Indumiso campus as students protest against financial exclusion.

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WITH the second semester just starting at most tertiary institutions, lectures have been disrupted for a week at DUT’s Indumiso campus with students protesting against financial exclusion.

Student Representative Council president Sbongimpilo Dumakude said they will continue with the protest which started last week, until their needs are met.

Dumakude said with the introduction of the new National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) online application system, about 1050 students have been financially excluded this year. He said students were sent SMSes that they have been automatically excluded without being given any reason.

“We are concerned that the new system, which we had hoped would bring relief, is actually a problem. The enrolment rate has dropped and residences are empty because students received SMSes telling them there are insufficient funds.

“Since this was a pilot project, we want them to review the system and see if we can continue using the manual system. We have spoken to management about our concerns, but we were told that nothing can be done.”

Dumakude said other than financial exclusion, students are also concerned about their safety on campus with the current security company carrying firearms.

“As much as it is their duty to protect us, we feel that they are victimising us. Our campus is a gun-free zone, but they carry firearms like nobody’s business. Recently an SRC member was shot by one of the security guards during a peaceful protest.

“We want them removed from the campus as they are threatening students,” he said. Senior Director of Corporate Affairs at DUT Alan Khan said: “Due to the student protest action which resulted in the protestors barricading the gate, restricting and preventing access to the campus, staff and students were advised to leave. We received reports that a car was allegedly stoned and this apparently resulted into security officers reacting to the situation.

“The university has since launched a formal investigation into the incident that resulted in one of our students being injured during the protest. However we have received reports that the situation has returned back to normal, as the SRC has undertaken to co-operate with the university. In the past, we have consistently responded to their concerns and we will continue to communicate with the SRC in a respectful manner.”

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