Departments ‘never paid us’ - FET students

UMGUNGUNDLOVU FET students, who were placed in various provincial government departments to do their in-service training, are crying foul because they have not been paid for the work they did.

In order for FET students to graduate, they have to undergo 18 months’ in-service training.

A student who trained in the Department of Social Development, and who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, said: “We were given contracts in which we were told we would get a stipend of R1 500 per month, but that never happened.”

“We started our training in December 2013 and it ended in May this year. During that whole period none of the 11 students were paid. I would sometimes not go to work because I couldn’t afford money for transport,” said the student.

She said had to rely on her mother to help with costs involved in a medical procedure she had to undergo, and that with Christmas approaching she would have liked to have helped her family with some festive season costs.

Some students received back pay, some were told the money had bounced in their bank account, and some were told they were in the second group of students who were going be paid.

“We were told to fix the problems with our bank accounts, which we did, but no money was sent to us. From May we have been told the same thing over and over again, that we will get what is owed to us as soon as the contract with the Seta has been finalised,” said the source.

The general manager of the Provincial Public Service Academy, Fazal Safla, said: “There are many projects being implemented by various agencies and institutions where students are placed for in-service training for which they are paid and in some instances are not paid as they volunteer. In this case we have a project where students were back-paid based on funds made available by the Seta, but not all of it.

“Outstanding payments will be made once the extension of the contract with the Seta is finalised; and all quality assurance and reporting requirements have been met.”

Safla said that no students will be affected by this.

“This is one project. It does not affect other projects of this nature as different agencies and institutions implement them,” he said.

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