The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has not yet paid University students their living allowances despite promising to do so at the end of the month of March. The students are currently home after they were released during the country’s partial lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They were still expecting to receive their allowances according to their agreement with the Ministry.
Before the students were sent home for the lockdown, the Ministry had issued a list of students to submit bank statements so that they can be paid. Some did but others did not see the need because they had submitted them before.
“On the 31 March students received their allowances and about 290 students did not receive. It was shocking because these students had expected to pay rent and have money to help them cater for themselves while going under lockdown at home.
Among the 290 students there are students who had submitted the bank statements before and seba submit close to 5 times solo ngloku ba mikisa but they didn’t get their allowances.” Explained Vuyiswa Maseko who is a student and SRC vice Secretary at Limkokwing University.
He further said that students not submitting bank statements just because the government wants to track down those students who got double payments is not their fault but the Ministry’s as they introduced this system and now iyabehlula.
The system also duplicated the students.
“ Nyalo abafuni kubhadala bafundzi because they double paid them last year between October and December. The only thing they should do is to give the students the money to pay rent and buy food while at home because even their parents are told to be at home so where are they supposed to get the money,” said Maseko.
The students have asked to account for the money when they repay after they start working. They have threatened that if the Ministry continues to withhold their allowances, they shall mobilize the students by next week to match to the Ministry.
“We have since noticed that the only thing the Ministry takes serious from students its riot and striking. Very soon after this week we shall embark on that tense quest. The thing is we came with a suggestion so that students can be paid but Babe Simelane a Senior Accountant in the Ministry refused and said abawatsatsi ema suggestions and told me via phone call that kute labangasisita ngako except kutsi sitfole lo 290 students to bring their bank statements,”said the student representative.
He said his worry was that it’s a lock down and students are scattered far away in their respective homes so “how are we to tell them to travel for bank statements when army forces are all over the country turning back everyone home.
“The ministry told us that we should tell students that they will be assisted once we open and my worry again is who knows when we are going to open? What if kuphela lenyanga futsi singavuli which mean nasitfola liphakelo futsi angeke batfole laba laba affected nyalo?? What if this outbreak persists until almost mid-year? Shokutsi students will be renting using what money?”
When contacted for comment, Principle Secretary in the Ministry, Thulani Mkhaliphi said what the students are saying are lies that are meant to abuse his office.
“It is either there is weak student leadership at Limkokwing or they focused on other things other than student welfare issues only to wake up when action points are due, ” said Mkhaliphi adding that he will send correspondence of the conversations he had with the student’s president.
When asked if the students were paid and if his office will continue to accommodate the students as promised even at the end of this month he said; “I don’t want to anticipate what will happen post declaration of emergency… that I don’t know but our commitment is to pay students monthly allowances until the end of the academic year.”
Mkhaliphi also said he had written a letter to the students’ president addressing the issue and they have not responded to date.
There were actually 440 students who we had queries and we wanted to reconcile their accounts…remember we are using public funds we have to exercise stewardship in using public funds the remaining some 290 have not submitted their bank statements for reconciliation. I am now appealing to students to submitt their bank statements at the university at the convience from Monday to Friday and I will process their payments once these are received and reconciled.