Eastern Cape college classes disrupted by student protests

No teaching at Ikhala College campuses due to demonstrations over NSFAS allowances

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Photo of a crowd

Classes were cancelled at three campuses of Ikhala TVET College in the Eastern Cape as students protested over NSFAS allowances. Photo: Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik

Classes were cancelled on Tuesday at all three campuses of Ikhala Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College in the Eastern Cape, as students protested over the way their National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) accommodation allowances are determined.

Some students were in classes waiting to write tests when they were told to leave the premises.

The protests started on Friday at the Coastal Campus in Komani. On Tuesday the students went to Zibeleni campus, 11km away, with the EFF present and the Komani Progressive Movement (KPA) assisting the protesters. The protest spread to Queen Nonesi Campus, in Cacadu (formerly Lady Frere).

Students accuse college management of reducing their R41,000 annual allowance from NSFAS.

Ikhala senior manager for registrations, advocate Africa Mgaleli, said management tried to explain to students the new funding criteria. This year the college is only paying what is in the lease agreement with the landlord. In previous years, R4,100 was paid for ten months, regardless of how much the student actually paid. Students could use any surplus to fund the other two months.

Ikhala Costal Campus leader Lwando Ndamase explained that in January and February students stay in any place their parents can afford, then move to better and safer accommodation when the NSFAS funds arrive. If they submit the lease for the cheaper place to the college, they are stuck in those premises.

Lelethu Maroro said that to cover her first two months rent, her family had resorted to loan sharks, who now had her mother’s ID and her siblings’ social grant cards.

Students vowed to continue protesting until NSFAS comes to address them.

Mgaleli promised that the college will arrange for NSFAS to address the students.

“On the 25 March we have external exams for the engineering students …They must write those exams. At this moment we are relying on the KPA to keep this protest peaceful, as they promised, until we get a solution,” he said.

Ikhala assistant director student registration Nolitha Jacobs showed GroundUp a NSFAS document that states NSFAS may only pay what is in the lease agreements. Students submit the lease to the college, which verifies the lease and sends it to NSFAS. NSFAS pays the students directly.

TOPICS:  Tertiary Education

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