Fri Oct 20 16:14:20 SAST 2017
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Disabled students want university to do more to help with their studies

By Zoë Mahopo | 2017-09-27 16:23:52.0

Precious Ralefeta, a disabled student at the University of Limpopo (UL), has faced an uphill battle during her first year of varsity.

Ralefeta, 25, is one of more than 110 disabled students at the university who staged a protest on campus yesterday, raising concerns about poor conditions and lack of facilities to accommodate them.

Led by the Disabled Students Organisations (DSO), they demanded university management provide resources including devices to help blind students use computers.

Students attempted to disrupt academic activities on campus while others gathered outside singing struggle songs.

Wheelchair-bound Ralefeta said it was difficult for disabled students to access some things on campus.

"Sometimes I can't consult with lecturers at the K block building because the lifts are not working and I can't use the stairs. It is an emotional experience because you are reminded that you are not like other students," she said.

Ralefeta said she missed some of her classes during the first semester because the lecture hall did not have a ramp.

"This university comes highly recommended as one of the best when accommodating disabled students, but I am very disappointed," she said.

Ralefeta said she feared the conditions would hinder her studies in the long run.

DSO chairwoman Sthembiso Mthimunye said they were fed up with the situation.

She said they submitted a memorandum to campus management on August 11, but nothing had been done.

University spokesman Kgalema Mohuba said they had taken steps to make sure students have what they need.

Mohuba said devices had been bought and they were waiting for delivery.

He said some issues were caused by late payment of student loans. "But with the meagre resources we had, we were able to assist some students."

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