The Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO) in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday said that it will be demanding answers on a R5 million bailout commitment from the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development for Fort Hare students, which has, until now, not come to fruition.
“On 13 April 2017, students at the University of Fort Hare received an email notifying them of their selection to be beneficiaries through an initiative between the University of Fort Hare and the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development, together with the South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA), to assist students with a meal allowances for a period of two months,” described Hlomela Bucwa – DASO Eastern Cape Constituency Leader.
She said that students were required to submit documents to the Student Representative Council (SRC) Student Services Officer, at their respective campuses, by no later than Tuesday 18 April 2017.
“It was indicated that R5 million had been made available to assist these students and this funding would assist more than 400 students who qualified for the SASSA funding,” Bucwa added.
“To date, students have not received any feedback and the department has been silent while students continue to suffer and wait patiently for the SASSA funding to come into effect.
“Our mandate is to serve the student population to the best of our ability in a quest to eradicate the current social ills and barriers to student access and success in institutions of higher learning.
“This is a joint responsibility that we all share and the department must inform us what has become of the R5 million that was promised to students?”
Bucwa said that DASO Eastern Cape will be writing to the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development to enquire about the matter, and further write to the Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University of Fort Hare to ensure that he prioritises this matter.
“The VC needs to ensure that no student goes to class hungry as they are unable to concentrate and acquire the education they need,” she said.
“We believe that education is the cornerstone of the liberation struggle of all young South Africans and the catalyst for the full realisation of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.”