Twenty-eight female guards were unfairly dismissed by a security company because the client‚ Metrora.
Education Minister Naledi Pandor has dismissed claims that female students at the University of Fort Hare, Alice, in the Eastern Cape, are resorting to prostitution to pay for their fees.
Addressing guests, some of them from neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe and Lesotho, at East London's Christian Centre during Fort Hare's graduation ceremony on Friday, Pandor said there were options available to help needy students.
She was reacting to claims by some students at the institution that certain female students had resorted to prostitution because they were poor and could not pay for their studies.
Pandor said: "We have a successful national financial aid scheme to assist students with loans and bursaries. The scheme invested over R1,3 billion in students in 2006/7."
She said it was "unacceptable for the students to resort to sex work". The president of the students representative council, Nomsa Mazwai, who also publicly said that there were students who were "practising sex work", apologised for the statement she had made prior to the graduation ceremony.
Soon after Mazwai's revelation, the university's management distanced itself from the allegations. However, a number of students at Fort Hare, who wished to remain anonymous, were adamant that prostitution was rife at the institution.
"I know two people involved in sex work," said a student. "They rent flats in town (in Alice).
"They say the money helps them pay fees, buy clothes, food and to have some cash. I heard that the practice has been going on for years now."