Students at the University of Limpopo (UL) on Wednesday launched a violent protest, setting the security house on fire, uprooting the university’s fence and blocking roads leading to the university.
Students protested non-payment of benefits outside the campus.
Disgruntled students claim they have not received aid since the start of the 2022 school year.
Member of Art Student Representative Council (SRC), said Citizen that another issue that prompted the strike is that the landlords told them that the university management was also trying to reduce their off-campus aid.
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No off-campus assistance for nine months
“They want to reduce our cash payments because they want to loot our money. Another thing is that for nine months without housing allowance, they think, what are we paying for the apartment?”
“We end up using our food allowance to pay the rent, some students end up sleeping with their landlords and caretakers to have a place to live,” said the student, who did not want to be named.
There are also students who have not yet received a food stipend, while others receive as little as 13 rand per month.
The student said the university had previously paid them meals in installments, leading to some receiving more money than they were due due to administrative errors.
“Earlier, the management gave us its own [monthly] meals for half of the total, so they ended up overpaying us. As a result, most students reduced the cost of food.”
Misfortune with the lease
UL registrar Prof Kwena Masha said they received a memorandum of demands from the students and their hosts at 7am on Wednesday before the protests started in the afternoon.
Masha said that in the evening they talked with the students and hope that on Thursday there will be peace and normal activities of the university will resume.
“The problem with the accommodation allowance is that NSFAS policy requires the landlord and student to sign a tenancy agreement detailing how much they charge for accommodation so that payment can be made directly to the landlord,” he said.
He said that students are unhappy with this arrangement because they want the allowances to be paid directly to them.
Some landlords agree with the students because they are concerned about tax issues.
After the protest, some students who are staying at home have received money for travel, but money for accommodation has not yet been received.
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