Wits University Masters students who were promised bursaries by the Department of Arts and Culture have told Eyewitness News how a delay has had a serious impact on the lives and studies, with some left destitute.
Nineteen students have been waiting for funds from the department, which confirmed in August that it would be covering their accommodation, tuition, meals and books.
On 20 August, in a letter to the institution, the Arts and Culture Department’s Reinette Stander confirmed that funding would be processed for the students.
Not a cent was paid since and the department said that Wits was to blame as it had not submitted all the required documents. Meanwhile, Wits has denied this.
But while the squabbling continued, the affected students were suffering. At least one of them was forced to sleep at the Johannesburg’s Park Station, while others sought shelter at laboratories and lecture halls.
There’s been no progress, and some students have found themselves in a desperate situation, relying on handouts from good Samaritans to survive.
Just as quickly as their hopes were raised when their bursaries were approved, 19 Wits University students found themselves back to square one.
They’ve told Eyewitness News they’re stressed, hungry and frustrated.
Those that spoke to EWN have detailed their frustrations.
“I’m unable to get my food and textbook allowance. My fees are high,” one student said.
“That money needs to be paid…,” said another, “…if the department doesn’t pay the money, then we won’t graduate next year, we won’t get our certificates next year.”
The students were hoping that outstanding issues between the department and the university would be resolved soon, so that could get their lives back on track.
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