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By Enkosi Selane

Digital Journalist

Frustrated UJ students ‘contemplating suicide’ after delay in bursary payments

Coming from underprivileged backgrounds, the students said the delayed allowances prevented them from even getting basic necessities as they depended on the bursary.

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

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

While the university did not stipulate the reason for the delays in payment, it confirmed receiving funds from the MQA.

“The bursaries have been processed and disbursements were made to the students. Students received payment yesterday and this morning,” UJ Media Relations Coordinator Herman Esterhuizen told The Citizen on Friday.

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‘Students are contemplating suicide’

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

One student told said they approached UJ Finance, Fundi, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) however 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.”

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Another student said they were quite disappointed in the institution.

“We have not receive even R1 since February,” the student added.

A third said the ordeal was taking a heavy toll on their mental health.

“It has gotten to the point where some of the students are contemplating suicide.”

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Underprivileged backgrounds

Coming from underprivileged backgrounds, the students said the delayed allowances prevented them from getting necessities they bought using the bursary.

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

We don’t have books, money to buy school supplies, groceries and 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.

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Another aggrieved student said the institution gave them the run around 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,” the student added.

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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 counseling line can be contacted from 09:00 to 16:00 at 076 882 2775.

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