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Dependants can't register as state fails to pay varsity fees

Military veterans official says they are dealing with the crisis
Military veterans official says they are dealing with the crisis
Image: 123RF

Dependants of military veterans have been blocked from registering at university because of unpaid tuition fees.

At least four dependants who were financially blocked at the University of Johannesburg [UJ] said their futures had been left in limbo.

The students said the department of military veterans had failed to settle their outstanding debts, forcing the university to prevent them from registering.

One of the beneficiaries of the educational funding from the department, Esona-Sipho Joni, 19, said she could not register for the second year of her BA psychology course at UJ.

She has been sitting idle at home and uncertain about her future.

"The department did not pay for my fees last year. As a result, I owe the university about R60,000 and I was financially blocked," she said.

"I notified the department about this and I was told that they would ask the finance department to allow us to register but they have not done that. My main worry is that they did not pay my fees for the whole year and I don't see them paying this year as well."

According to the department's website, there are more than 7,400 military veterans and their dependants who are receiving education support both at tertiary and basic education level.

Another student, Vuyolwethu Kwatsha, 25, said she owed UJ R35,000 as her fees were not paid last year.

"Last year I was forced to change a course and study sports management because my registration was paid late," Kwatsha said.

"This year I have not been able to register because I still owe fees from last year. The department is not doing us any justice and they keep telling us about sending e-mails to the institution but they have not done that as well."

Keneiloe Khotsoe, 25, was financially blocked in 2016 from registering at UJ after her outstanding tuition was not paid. She had hoped to return to her studies this year after the 2016 tuition was only settled last year.

"My fees were only paid last year and it was already too late for me to register for my BCom in logistic management at UJ.

"I am worried that I will spend another year at home because my registration has not yet been paid," she said.

Another student who wanted to remain anonymous said: "The system is flawed. We have to apply for continuation every year. This does not make sense because they have already invested for two years in your education.

"I think verification of continuation should just be one's results," he said.

Department spokesperson Phumeza Dzuguda said they had noted that there are still outstanding invoices and some payments for both tertiary and basic education dependants.

"These are processed as a matter of urgency, some officials are visiting schools in all nine provinces to accelerate the process.

"In processing the 2020 school fees the department has engaged Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Eastern Cape provincial governments to process school fees payments for its dependants who are in public and independent subsidised schools," Dzuguda said.

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