CLASSES and exams were disrupted at Mopani South East TVET College in Phalaborwa, Limpopo, when electrical engineering students embarked on a protest demanding a R50 000-a-year stipend.
Student leader Never Malatji explained to African Times: “Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA) paid the college R3m but the management is only paying us R1 500 monthly stipend since 1 June 2016. Each student is supposed to be receiving R50 000 annually.
“We wrote many letters to the college and higher education and training department but no positive outcome came out of those engagements. Our view has always been that this R1 500 is peanuts as we were told that it only covers transport costs but there is nothing for food and rental for a duration of 24 months,” Malatji said.
He said other artisans’ students such as those in mining were receiving R50 000 a year.
“There are many errors in the contract we were forced to sign. Our money is used to pay our facilitators whereas the college is the one that must pay those facilitators. They told us that should we suffer any injuries, they will not be held accountable for our medical expenses,” Malatji said.
College Principal Levy Baloyi said TETA only provided R900 000 for the first phase of training.
“The students are lying by claiming that we misappropriated their funds. We are using the R32 000 balance (from the R50 000 each student is supposed to get) to buy their tools, equipment and paying their facilitators,” he said.
The students blockaded three gates leading to the college, preventing staff from entering the premises. The situation was normalised after police threatened to arrest the students for staging an illegal gathering.