Students at CUT continue to express concerns over unresolved NSFAS issues, victimisation

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Students at the Central University of Technology (CUT) continue to raise concerns over unresolved National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) issues and victimisation.

Students have called on management to attend to grievances that have been pending since the beginning of the year.

A report has emerged that the Department of Higher Education intends to appoint an independent assessor to investigate allegations of maladministration at the university. Other issues at the university include a lack of transparency in disciplinary processes, procurement irregularities and a culture of fear and victimisation.

Students are up in arms, demanding to be heard. Some students claim they haven’t received their accommodation allowances. Others say that the institution’s failure to submit data to NSFAS has harmed them.

They say due to this they are unable to participate fully in their academics.

Central University of Technology’s SRC president Sabelo Bhengu says, “Even as the SRC, we try to address these issues with management but we are not given time and space to address these issues fully because they don’t open a room for engagements. Even if you go to the meetings and tell them the issues that we face they don’t come up with solutions so for now, we have decided to join students and tell students that if they want their issues to be resolved they must go on strike because we understand that it is the only language CUT management understands. Because if they don’t want to engage with us on student matters then there’s nothing, we can do.”

Former CUT SRC president Moses Ntonyane says many students are being disadvantaged by the university. He says some are unable to get their qualifications due to the alleged incompetence of some staff members.

“There are issues of victimisation that need to be addressed within this university. Nobody is holding anybody accountable in this university. Officials of this university are failing to do their job leading to students repeating modules that they may have passed had they been doing their jobs. And students are failing and forfeiting their funding because of officials not doing what they are supposed to do. Again, there is no consequences management on officials that every year are continuing to disadvantage our students.”

The University was not immediately available for comment. It will not be the first time that the University faces possible administration. In 2012, the Minister of Higher Education appointed an independent assessor to investigate various allegations of financial and human rights violations. The assessor recommended that the council of the University be dissolved and the administrator be appointed among others.

But the administrator was not allowed to carry out the duties and the matter was escalated to court. The court ruled in favour of the University’s council. The Department of Higher Education is yet to comment.