17 April 2018

South Africa: Pietermaritzburg College Campuses Shut Down

"We want our money!" students demanded at the Msunduzi campus of Umgungundlovu TVET College in Pietermaritzburg.

Last week, students barricaded Burger Street with rocks and burning tyres, demanding that the college pay their accommodation fees from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), GroundUp reported.

The issue has lead to the closure of all the Pietermaritzburg campuses. On Monday morning, students marched to the central administrative offices.

About 30 students said they had been evicted from Ikhaya boarding house on Friday. They said the college had not paid the landlord their accommodation fees since last year. The students come from Msinga, Nquthu, Ixopo, Richmond and Umkhambathini.

"We don't have any place to go," said a business student. "On Monday we were evicted and taken to some dodgy hostel. There were no beds. We slept on the floor. The landlord said he cannot accommodate us anymore. The college has not paid him since last year."

"I'm from Msinga and it's far [145km]. Since last week we have been having problems. The college management does not care. Instead the principal, Ntombi Ntshangase, is running away from us. We are stranded and we have no place to stay," said the student.

President of the student representative council, Cleo Ntombela, told GroundUp they had met with the college management on Tuesday and Thursday.

"It transpired at the meeting that they used the money for tuition fees in 2017," said Ntombela.

'What do we tell our parents at home?'

But Ntshangase said it was not true that the money was received and used by the college.

She said: "All campuses were paid late. We know that there are some students without accommodation. It's not the college's fault for the delay. We are waiting for NSFAS to approve their bursaries. Once their bursaries have been approved, students will be paid. We are not to blame. They will have to wait for the approval."

Ntombela said: "Students were told to wait... [But] they have been evicted from the boarding house. As we speak they are stranded. They have no one here. How long are they expected to wait?"

A student from Ixopo, who had been evicted from Ikhaya, said college management were supposed to have a meeting with the landlord.

"They have not met with him. We have been evicted. We came here to study. They are not helping us. Where do we go from here? We have no relatives. Our homes are far from here. What do we tell our parents at home?

"They (management) don't care about our education. We need this money to pay for our accommodation. Currently, we are not studying. This is our future," said the student.

Protesting students have vowed not to leave the administrative offices until they get a response.

GroundUp has tried since last week to get comment from NSFAS. Emails, messages and phone calls have gone unanswered.

Source: <b>GroundUp</b>

South Africa

For Drought-Slammed Farmers, Changing Old Ways Takes Time - and Cash

In the parched, mountainous hills of Leliefontein, in South Africa's northwest Namakwa district, farmers have long made… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 News24Wire. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.