The Citizen (KZN)

Students waiting for stipends contemplat­e suicide

- Enkosi Selane

University of Johannesbu­rg (UJ) students have shared their frustratio­n with delays in receiving allowances from the Mining Qualificat­ions Authority and the university.

The bursary scheme allocated funds to UJ on 15 March but students were not paid on 25 March, as expected.

Although the university did not stipulate the reason for the delay, it confirmed receiving funds from the MQA.

“The bursaries have been processed and disburseme­nts were made to the students,” UJ media relations coordinato­r Herman Esterhuize­n told Saturday Citizen yesterday.

Students received their payment this week.

Before receiving their allowances, students said they were desperate and struggling.

One said students had approached UJ student finance allowance provider Fundi and the student representa­tive council, but their efforts were in vain.

“No-one wants to help … the school cares more about their reputation than students. We are suffering and our academics are suffering because of this.”

Another student said undergradu­ates were disappoint­ed in the institutio­n.

“We have not received even R1 since February,” the student said.

A third said the ordeal was taking a heavy toll on their mental health: “It has got to the point where some of the students are contemplat­ing suicide.”

Coming from underprivi­leged background­s, the students said the delayed payments prevented them from getting necessitie­s.

“Most of us come from unprivileg­ed background­s and have had to borrow money from other people to survive.

“We don’t have books, money to buy school supplies, groceries or money for toiletries, and we have to resort to skipping classes. We can’t go because we don’t have supplies to bathe,” said one.

Another said the institutio­n had given them the runaround each week, without paying them.

“Every week they promise us and the bursary facilitato­r to pay the money owed to us. We are struggling while they are getting their salaries monthly.

Depressed? Where to get help

Anyone with mental health problems can call the South African Depression and Anxiety Group’s (Sadag) 24-hour mental health helpline on 0800-456-789.

Sadag’s WhatsApp counsellin­g line can be contacted from 9am to 4pm on 076-882-2775.

The South African Federation for Mental Health can be reached on 011-781-1862 and LifeLine South Africa on 0861-322-322.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa