“We want our MONEY”

2018-04-25 06:00
Protesting students at Umgungundlovu Central office on Tuesday.PHOTO: lethiwe makhanya

Protesting students at Umgungundlovu Central office on Tuesday.PHOTO: lethiwe makhanya

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Vocational Education and
Training (Tvet) students have vowed to bring operations to a halt at all five campuses in Pietermaritzburg, until they get answers from management on issues relating to transport, accommodation and meal allowances.

About 2000 students have still not been allocated the money given to the colleges for this by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in 2017.

The students started protesting last Wednesday when they barricaded
Pietermaritz Street with burning tyres after receiving news that NSFAS had allocated the money to the institutions but the institutions never allocated the money to students.

On Monday and Tuesday, students marched to the college central office in Burger Street where they burned rubbish on the premises. Public order police were called to disperse the crowd.

Students complained that some of them have been evicted from their private accommodation as they can’t afford to pay.

One of the students who was evicted told Echo that she has nowhere to go and does not have money to go back home.

“I’m staying at my friends place at the moment, but I know that I can’t stay there forever. Last Wednesday the college management took us to Plessislaer Campus where we slept on the floor in one of the rooms. They gave us six sponge mattresses to sleep on which belong to other students from thecampus. We do not know what we are going to do and we owe our landlord rent,” said one students who was renting in Boom Street.

Student Representative Council (SRC) president Fana Shandu said that the institution was allocated more than R13 million in 2017 of which R3,3 million was meant to be allocated to all the students from five colleges as allowances for accommodation, transport and meals.

“25% of the money that was allocated to the college was supposed to be allocated to the students in 2017 but even today students have not received that money. There are students who have been chased out of their private accommodation because they have not paid. Other students fail to attend lectures because they don’t have money for transport. They were told that NSFAS did not pay the money to the college,” he said.

He said they have tried several times to meet with college management to get answers, but in vain as management could not prove that NSFAS had not allocated money.

“We will continue to fight until we get answers as to when students will receive their money.”

NSFAS spokesperson Kagiso Mamabolo said that they are aware of the student protest but they are not to blame.

“We are very concerned about the allegations made by the institution as we have made upfront payments and it was their duty to transfer funds into students accounts,” he said. He said colleges like Umgungungundlovu manage their own allowance processes, therefore their role as NSFAS ends when they deposit money into the institution’s bank account.

Umgungundlovu Tvet principal Ntombi Ntshangase denied that the money was paid to the college.

“We are in talks with NSFAS regarding the 2017 money because they [NSFAS] had a problem with their system last year but they have since changed their system now. As soon as we get the money we will allocate it students accounts,” Ntshangase said. Ntshangase said that lectures will continue as usual since they have paid the landlord who students owed money to.

“These students have suffered enough sleeping in hostels that is why we decided to pay the landlord on Tuesday so that the students will continue with their studies. Lectures will now continue as usual without any disruptions,” Ntshangase said.


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