no lectures at university

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Another tertiary institution in KwaZulu-Natal is at a standstill and lectures have been suspended indefinitely.

The students and the management of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College campus are in dispute over unpaid meal allowances by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nasfas).

The R1000 allowances are supposed to be paid monthly to buy groceries.

The students are also unhappy about lack of accommodation and the exclusion of repeatedly poor performing students.

The protests started on Wednesday, and vice-chancellor Professor Malegapuru Makgoba was handed a memorandum.

Yesterday Mlondi Mkhize, secretary of the Students Representative Council, said the students have not received the meal allowances since the beginning of the year.

He also claimed that about 400 students had only two lecturers, while they initially had seven.

Hlengiwe Msomi, a second-year student from Mthwalume, said: "Both my parents died when I was young, and this money is the only thing that makes me survive. At the moment, my roommates give me something to eat, but I do not know for how long they will be able to feed me."

Almost all the major institutions of higher learning in KwaZulu-Natal have had disruptions this year.

The Durban University of Technology recently closed for a week after angry students held two senior managers hostage during a strike over lack of accommodation. In February, there were clashes between students aligned to the ANC and IFP at the Mangosuthu University of Technology in Umlazi, near Durban.

Executive dean of students at the university, Trevor Wills, yesterday confirmed that "a small number of students" who were Nasfas beneficiaries and reside outside the campus had not been paid meal allowances because they had not been captured in the system.

"We have now captured them in our system and they should expect to receive their meal allowances any day this week," he said.

He said negotiations are continuing to resolve the rest of the demands.