‘We are not safe,’ say protesting uMgungundlovu TVET College students after being robbed

TVET uMgungundlovu students say they are currently unsafe while sleeping outdoors as they continue to wait for communication from NSFAS.
TVET uMgungundlovu students say they are currently unsafe while sleeping outdoors as they continue to wait for communication from NSFAS.

uMgungundlovu TVET College students say they are fearful after they were robbed while sleeping outside campus on Wednesday night.

The students have been staging peaceful protests outside the central campus on Burger Street after National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) failed to pay them their allowances. They have been sleeping in and outside the campus for the past four nights since their landlords kicked them out for not paying rent.

On Thursday they told The Witness they were robbed, at knife-point, of some personal belongings on Wednesday night. “We have nowhere to go. Some of us come from as far as the Eastern Cape and Richards Bay. We have no money to return home so we are stuck sleeping outside until we receive our funding,” said one of the students, Minenhle Dlamini.

He told The Witness that five men approached the group with knives on Wednesday night.

“They [robbers] took stuff from our bags. We tried to fight them off but they had knives and we had just woken up so we couldn’t do anything. No one was hurt but we are very shaken up. A purse was stolen containing a cellphone and two identity documents.

“We are destitute. We have nowhere to go and nothing to eat.

READ | ‘We want our allowance in full,’ say protesting TVET students

“We are grateful for the support from some of the people who give us supplies, but we feel very ignored because NSFAS still has not communicated with us,” said Dlamini.

The students’ request to sleep in the campus halls has been denied by the management.

College principal Ntombi Ntshangase told The Witness on Wednesday that that the college had no dealings with NSFAS anymore due to a change in the system. “NSFAS now communicates directly with the students and money gets deposited into the students’ bank account now, whereas before it was deposited to the college.

“We feel for these students because we know they have got nowhere to go. However, we cannot allow them to sleep in the campus hall as there are no blankets and bathrooms for them to bath,” said Ntshangase.

Papama Mpupa, spokesperson for NSFAS, did not respond to queries.

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