Wednesday 14 April 2021
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San students left in the cold

The University of Namibia’s San students who depend on the Marginalized Communities Division in the Office of the President to pay their tuition fees, books and monthly allowances will study for their examinations that is currently underway despite government’s failure to honor its commitment to buy books for them.
The division is said to have done away with inter-account transfers that previously allowed students to buy their books themselves. Students have since been asked to provide the division with quotations for books which the department will then procure and deliver to the students.
Also, for the past three months, the affected students have not received any funds to buy books, make copies, let alone eat on campus which has subsequently left them to attend class on empty stomachs.
Upon the student’s complaints about the delayed payments prior to their examinations, Deputy Director of the division Gerson Kamatuka told this publication that his department had already processed payments on some of the quotations that his office had received from the students.
It now turns out that this was not done. The students said they have not received any books.
“What Kamatuka is saying about some students having received their books is devoid of any truth.
So far, no San student has received any books from his office even after submitting quotations months ago,” said a student who preferred anonymity in fear of victimization.
Many of us have no books while non-tuition fees and allowances have also not been paid for the past few months, said a concerned student.
“At the moment, we are busy borrowing books left right and center to write exams. It is cold so the library is normally not so full.
This gives us the opportunity to grab some books because we don’t have any to take to our rooms like other students.
So how do we write exams without books and should we fail, will they pay for us to repeat?” the students queried.
Kamatuka this week said he is oblivious to the situation.
“I am shocked to hear that none of the students received books. I am actually hearing it from you now.
My office will investigate this matter but we urge the students to follow up with the office,” said Kamatuka.
The San students have been surviving at the mercy of the Office of the Dean of Students as many have not received their monthly allowances for months.
Those at the main campus receive food from the dean’s office which they cook and eat together.
“When we asked them[government] about our allowances, they just keep telling us that the person in charge of processing payments is in on leave and there is no one else who can do it,” the students said.
Kamatuka communicated to the students that the delayed payments of allowances, would be done end of May [yesterday].
At the time of going to print however, the students confirmed that no money had been transferred to their accounts.
Several calls made to Kamatuka yielded no answer yesterday.

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