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The 2020/21 Student Representative Council (SRC) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) allocated R3.5 million to cover a once-off emergency living allowance for students already registered and awaiting NSFAS funding for 2021.

This initiative benefited 173 students, consisting of 119 students from Durban campuses and 54 students from the Midlands campuses.

Speaking about this initiative, Mrs Thobeka Shozi-Nxumalo, DUT’s Student Life Officer at the Department of Student Governance and Development said this act was historic and possibly a game changer for future SRC’s.

“The exceptional importance of this decision lay in the fact that the SRC approached a problem facing students not from an angle of demanding but that of co-creators of solutions. This was an act of compassion for their peers. The students who received the allowances will surely never forget the SRC of 2020/21 for their role. The SRC demonstrated the principles of ENVISION2030, where Ubuntu was put into practice. This is the type of high-level leadership that the whole University community must be proud of and celebrate,” said Shozi-Nxumalo.

Shozi-Nxumalo added that the SRC took a very crucial decision of demonstrating leadership and adaptability amid the crisis. According to Shozi- Nxumalo, the SRC had to make difficult unpopular choices where they had to choose between entertainment or keeping some students at the university.

“Instead of hosting their ever-standing significant events such as year opening bashes and DUT beauty contests (which are also critical co-curricular activities), the SRC decided to take that money and give it as allowances to deserving needy students,” added Shozi-Nxumalo.

The SRC General Secretary, Mr Njabulo Ntshaba said they decided to take their events budget and use it wisely to assist students who were still waiting for NSFAS funding.

“These are the students who were not receiving their allowances. We then took a decision to take the money set aside for events and other programmes to attend the urgent matter affecting students. Our usual events and programmes are postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We did leave some of the money to help us function as the SRC. The allowances given to students were a once-off thing due to our limited budget. However, we are in talks with various departments, especially the Alumni and Development office to partner with us and help us raise more funds,” said Ntshaba.

Furthermore, their wish as the SRC for 2020/21, is for this initiative to be an ongoing project which the next SRC will move forward. Ntshaba revealed that the SRC in partnership with the Student Services Department recently handed out food parcels to students who were affected by the recent unrests.

Ntshaba urged various departments and donors to partner with the SRC to raise more funds to help them ensure that no student is left behind during this difficult time.

Pictured: DUT 2020/21 SRC

Simangele Zuma

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