Students unable to pay rent, sleep outside college gates

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Students sleep at the gates of Umgungundlovu TVET College’s Msunduzi Campus in Pietermaritzburg after being evicted by landlords because they are unable to pay rent due to outstanding payments from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
Students sleep at the gates of Umgungundlovu TVET College’s Msunduzi Campus in Pietermaritzburg after being evicted by landlords because they are unable to pay rent due to outstanding payments from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
Nompendulo Ngubane
  • Mattresses and blankets could be seen lined up at the Msunduzi campus of the Umgungundlovu TVET College's gates on Tuesday night.
  • The students say they were evicted by private landlords because they are unable to pay rent due to outstanding payments from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
  • Multiple attempts to get comment from college principal Ntombi Ntshangase were unsuccessful.

Students in Pietermaritzburg slept outside the entrance gates to their college for the second time on Tuesday night, GroundUp reports.

They are enrolled at the Msunduzi campus of the Umgungundlovu TVET College.

The students said they were evicted by private landlords because they were unable to pay rent due to outstanding payments from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Regional task team member Lungani Dlamini added students had submitted all the required documents to the college in time but it had delayed the submissions.

"We have made our own enquiry with NSFAS and they said there was a delay from our college. Other TVET colleges such as Umfolozi and Amajuba are not in the same predicament. They are continuing with lectures and everything is normal.

Dlamini said:

At our campus, students slept on the street fearing for our lives. The college refused to provide us with a place to sleep last night. We had no choice but to sleep outside the gate on the street.

Mattresses and blankets could be seen lined up at the college's gates, while some students protested and sang struggle songs. Most of those sleeping outside come from Newcastle, Empangeni and the Eastern Cape.

Dlamini said students have tried talking to the college's management but to no avail.

"We are prepared to shut down the college until they resolve our payments. Every year it's the same issue. Most of us come from far and we have no relatives here, what are we supposed to do?" he asked.

READ | Student protests: 'Every year ... it's like a soapie now', Blade Nzimande tells Parliament

Student Londeka Majola said sleeping outside had been traumatising.

"Some students don't have money for transport to get the education they deserve. The management is being ignorant. Getting education in this country is still a challenge and it won't be better anytime soon," added Majola.

Multiple attempts to get comment from college principal Ntombi Ntshangase were unsuccessful.

NSFAS spokesperson Papama Mpupa told GroundUp on Tuesday the students' query was being processed. A response will be included once received.


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