Students’ dreams shattered as department refuses to pay bursaries

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

Students at the Marapyane Agriculture College are running the risk of being kicked off campus and lumped with a massive study debt, after the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Administration’s decision to not pay their bursaries.

Third year students were recently informed that they would not be allowed to continue their studies, as the department would not pay their tuition as promised in 2012.

According to students, the department in 2012 released a list of 63 students who would receive bursaries, yet to date, no contracts were signed and no monies were paid to the college – despite HOD Nelisiwe Sithole’s promises in 2013 to settle the matter.

To add insult to injury, students have also been informed that they would be held responsible for the outstanding tuition fees, and would not be allowed to continue or complete their courses unless fully paid up.

The department’s decision is a massive setback for these young people, as their future prospects at finding jobs and building better lives have decreased dramatically. Furthermore, the massive unasked-for financial burden so early in their lives, will all but doom these young lives to a future plagued by poverty and desperation.

Agricultur MEC Violet Siwela has no choice but to intervene, and ensure that the department delivers on its 2012 promise. The bursaries must be paid in full, and the 63 students must be allowed to complete their studies.

To this end, the DA will write an urgent letter to the MEC demanding the department does so, and that all necessary steps be taken to reassure these young people that a better life lies ahead.