Students shut down TVET colleges

PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaStudents outside the TVET central office on Monday where they submitted their memorandum.
PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaStudents outside the TVET central office on Monday where they submitted their memorandum.

STUDENTS from all campuses under Umgungundlovu Training Vocational Education Training (TVET) College marched to the college’s central office on Monday where they submitted their memorandum of demands.

The students have been on strike since Wednesday last week.

The list of demands included accommodation, outstanding allowances from 2019, 2020 allowances that the students have not received from National Student Financial Aid System (NSFAS), and the shortage of textbooks.

The students say that they have been sleeping in campus property, community halls and others are squating with the people they know because they do not have money to pay for accommodation.

They said their landlords have kicked them out as they have not paid rent as are still waiting to be paid by NSFAS.

Msunduzi Campus president Syabulela Thalathala said their main issue is that of accommodation, because they have children who come from far rural areas and have been kicked out by their landlords but yet they are expected to attend classes.

He said in 2018 the college decided to close down the students’ residence that was in Plessislaer and promised to open a new one that will be in town to accommodate all the students attending in different campuses under Umgungundlovu TVET College, but that has never happened till today.

“We want to know where is that process now because it has been two years now but nothing is happening. If the college had kept its promise, we would not be in this problem,” he said.

Thalathala said there are a few students who have received their 2020 allowances from NSFAS but it is what they were approved for.

“Students are getting R700 and they are told that it is a personal allowance. What are you going to do with R700? You need to pay rent and you need to buy food. We have nothing. We have no place to stay but the college management is expecting us to attend the classes. How can we attend the classes if we do not have money? We need the college to assist us because they are the ones who closed down the students’ residence that was a great help to the students,” he said.

He said students have been calling NSFAS to find out why they have not been paid but they are not getting any answers.

He said when they asked about last year’s allowances, they were told that the money was paid to the college but the college is denying this.

The students have vowed that they will not stop striking until their issues have been resolved.

The memorandum was accepted by the deputy principal at the TVET college employee section, Sandile Zondi.

Zondi said the college principal Ntombi Ntshangase was in a meeting but promised that the management would respond to each point raised by the students in the memorandum.

“We are aware of the concerns as management. The college principal will call all the relevant departments to address the issues that you have raised in the memorandum. We will then set a date where we will call student representatives with the answers and solutions,” he said.

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