Wits students who applied for financial aid food allowances have yet to receive any of the money promised to them.
This was revealed to Vuvuzela just weeks after Minister of Higher Education Dr Blade Nzimande released a report emphasising the poor conditions faced by students at various South African universities.
Tshepo Monnakgotla, 1st year BA Dramatic Arts, said she had gone through all the necessary procedures, but had not yet received any of the money she was entitled to. “I haven’t received any allowance in the duration that I’ve been in Wits.”
She said she was “really struggling…I have a roommate who tries to cover both our costs and my mother tries to sacrifice from her budget to give me money…”
Mbalenhle Zakwe, who is in her second year, said she was experiencing the same problem. Zakwe was adamant she had filled out all the paperwork and gone through all the right procedures, but was still not getting the allowance paid into her account.
She often went hungry to bed and to classes, as she did not have enough money for every meal. Both students said the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office had repeatedly told them the money would be paid in “by the end of the week”, but nothing had been paid yet.
Manager of the financial aid office, Busisiwe Sithole, said she was not aware of any students, who had applied, but had not yet received their allowances. “We have not heard [of] students who have not received their funds…”
She said any students who had not yet received their allowances should get in touch with her so that her office could work to rectify the matter.
Omesh Bennie, from the accounts payable office, said payments often didn’t go through because students had entered incorrect personal or banking details.
However, Daya Veerasamy, manager in the Student Fees and Cashiers office, said his office was aware of some students were yet to receive their payments, and this might not be directly linked to wrong banking details.
Both Bennie and Veerasamy explained the university was currently using a new system, and that might be causing the trouble.
The university has asked that students to inform the correct staff about their issues, to make sure their banking details are entered correctly – and to be patient.
Students at the University of Fort Hare protested during the week of March 12 because of a similar issue. According to a report, they are claiming the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) must pay for all their schooling needs.