Resolve fuels class action

2017-11-22 06:02

After seven years of trying in vain to obtain a qualification certificate from the Motheo Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College, a Mangaung woman’s tenacious calls for help has led to a class action against the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).

The Pretoria-based firm of attorneys which has taken on the cause of Keneilwe Molawa (35), who hails from Thaba Nchu, is now looking for other former DHET students in the same quandary to join the group action. It has emerged that the DHET has a backlog of almost 200 000 certificates that should have been issued.

Molawa studied Civil Engineering and Building Construction NQF Level 4 at the Thaba Nchu Campus of the Motheo College from 2008 to 2010. At that time she was 25.

On her graduation day in 2011 she and fellow students were presented with toilet rolls covered in paper in lieu of a real graduation diploma.

To her repeated appeals for a real graduation certificate, Motheo ­responded that the DHET had refrained from providing the certificates. Nothing has been forthcoming since, despite the DHET’s Backlog Elimination Project, which should have been completed by early 2016.

The lack of a certificate hampers Molawa – and others like her – in her effort to get a job in line with her qualification. She is working 70 km away from home for less than R4 000 per month. If she had initially received a certificate, she would have gone on to university.

Molawa had in the past years approached Motheo, the DHET, the Public Protector, the President’s Office, the Department of Human Settlements (where she had hoped to get employment), the Chief Justice, Section 27, Parliament and the Mangaung mayor for help.

The Pretoria-based firm Maluleke, Seriti, Makume and Matlala Inc. has now agreed to help take the DHET to court.

Mmuso Matlala, spokesperson of the law firm, says thus far 12 affected students have replied.

“We need more than the current number to proceed with the matter. It will be challenging if we have less than a hundred students, hence we are appealing to them to contact us so we can assist them,” says Matlala.

Molawa’s correspondence includes the initial Motheo TVET College’s recruitment advertisement, in conjunction with the DHET, looking for students who want to follow “vocational training as a career path”. The advert proclaimed: “It’s cool to be a 21st Century Artisan.”

Despite her successful study, Molawa (and others) are years later still stuck without certificates.

“It is very frustrating to wait so long without any assistance. I have been taken from pillar to post with nobody telling the truth about what is actually happening. Given my treatment, I strongly maintain that TVET Colleges are worthy institutions to further education,” says Molawa.

For details on the class action, contact Mmuso Matlala at Maluleke, Seriti, Makume and Matlala Inc. on 087-232-1799, send a fax to 086-234-7306 or an email to mmuso@­msmminc.co.za, or see www.msmminc.co.za.

  • Feedback from the DHET on progress with its Operation Backlog has been requested and will be published.

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