“We have no place to sleep,” GroundUp was told by a student, who said she was afraid of being named in the media. She is from Umgungundlovu Tvet College in Pietermaritzburg, and she was evicted from her digs in a residential area on Monday.
A number of students say their landlords have not been paid for months because they have not received their funds from the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). It is almost the end of July and some students say they have not been paid at all this year.
The student said some of them have had their electricity cut off awhile ago and were studying by candlelight. Some are in the middle of exams.
“As you can see, we are carrying our bags. We have no place to sleep. The management is not helping. They have told us to come back with bank statements. The issue of accommodation is being ignored,” she said.
Another student, who also did not want to be named, said her landlord had locked up her possessions. “He said if I don’t pay by Friday he will sell my things. I have missed rent for seven months. I don’t have any clothes except for the clothes I’m wearing. I have no books with me … We did all the required processes. No one is telling us what is the cause of delay,” she said.
SRC President at Northdale campus Moeketsi Mahasela said, “We have decided to come to the campus so that they can see how serious this is … Students are leaving Tvet colleges because of problems. We have tried to raise these issues with the management … The college is failing us.”
GroundUp has tried numerous times since Monday to get comment from NSFAS and the college principal on the stranded students. The students come from Newcastle, Greytown, Umzimkhulu and Nongoma and do not have friends or family they can stay with in Pietermaritzburg.
On Monday night, one of the students’ landlords allowed them to sleep over at a private residence in Northdale, but they had to leave in the morning. On Tuesday night, eight students slept at the college, sharing a room with the SRC president. They are not sure where they will sleep tonight, Wednesday.
Written by Nompendulo Ngubane
Originally published: www.groundup.org.za/article/evicted-students-stranded-umgungundlovu-tvet-college