‘Pay our transport money’

Pictured is Asiphe Lehlakane, left, and Unam Buqa.

Students at the College of Cape Town’s Crawford campus have demanded that the institution pay their transport fees, this after they have had to borrow money to get to campus for the past two months.

Classes at the tertiary institution were suspended last Monday to Wednesday and for two days the previous week as students boycotted classes.

Asiphe Lehlakane, 21, from Khayelitsha said she spends R48 a day to get to and from school and the transport fees allocated to her is only R420.

She said because she has not yet received the money from the college, her boyfriend has been giving her transport fees but only when he has to give.

Asiphe said last week she could not attend college because she had no money to get to campus.

“I don’t have parents and I am staying with my sister, I need that money to get to campus. It is really difficult. It takes me about an hour to get to college and last week when I was absent because I had no money, they said I had to prove it to them,” she said.

“Today they called us in for a meeting but they have not given us any answers. Students in higher levels get more transport fees than us but they live in the same area which is not fair,” she said.

Another student Unam Buqa, 20, from Nyanga said she is rather disappointed in the way things have unravelled. “My mother now has to borrow money from other people to give me transport money. I stay with my grandmother but she has no money to give me to travel because she has to buy food as well. We are writing exams in March but there is no class so what will we do? “ said Unam.

Asked why some students had not received their transport fees yet, Sharon Grobbelaar, corporate communications and marketing manager for College of Cape Town, said: “All returning students that were registered by January 31 this year have received their transport allowance.

“The new students will only receive their transport money once the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) approves their bursary applications.”

Ms Grobbelaar said the college is guided by the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) colleges bursary guidelines, which only allows for 30% of the total bursary allocation to be used for transport allowances, thus there is not unlimited funding for transport.

“The difference in the amounts paid for transport allowances between different years or levels of studies is as a result of the implementation of the phasing-in of measures to reach parity according to the DHET’s 70/30 ruling in terms of the payment of transport allowances from the NSFAS bursary funding allocation. A total of 70% of the funding is allocated to tuition fees, while the maximum of 30% is allocated to transport allowances, as indicated above.

“Once parity is reached, all eligible students will receive the same amount as transport allowance,” she said.