Acting Public Protector Gcaleka visits UNIVEN to engage with stakeholders

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Acting Public Protector, Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka has started a tour of various institutions of higher learning to engage management, SRCs and NSFAS to address challenges faced by students. Advocate Gcaleka visited the University of Venda in Thohoyandou today as part of the tour.

Students at some universities and colleges throughout the country have been protesting since last week over funding. Students at Univen are however not part of the protest as some are writing examinations.

During her visit, Gcaleka engaged with management and the Student Representative Council. Senior officials of the NSFAS and members of the Human Rights Commission were also present during the meeting.

The meeting focused on the allocation of NSFAS funds to students. This amid calls for free tertiary education and the scrapping of historical debt. Gcaleka says she plans to meet with the Minister of Higher Education and Training.

“We are also hoping to have continuous engagements with the Minister. Firstly to address some of the reports that have been taken out by the Chapter Nine Institutions such as the report that the Human Rights Commission had presented today for this university trying to deal with the systemic issues which hinder the transformation of institutions of higher learning but also to deal with some of the systemic issues.”

The Student Representative Council at UNIVEN says there are problems with the processing of applications for first-year students by NSFAS. The SRC’s president, Gift Chauke says students are also experiencing challenges with accessing network signal in rural areas.

Students at the university have not joined the nationwide shutdown of institutions of higher learning. Chauke believes the visit by the Public Protector’s office will help resolve some of their challenges.

“The visit by the Public Protector actually is going to help us because there was a lot of issues relating to NSFAS, maladministration of NSFAS, paying of allowances, paying allowances that are not the same, so we need balance and we raised it with the office of the Public Protector that we are treated unfairly, the University of Venda is treated like a lesser university.”

Gcaleka will visit the TUT campus in Bombela in Mpumalanga on Wednesday next week.