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R17.5 million shot in the arm for poor UKZN students

By Celani Sikhakhane

The University of KwaZulu-Natal has managed to source over R17.5 million to assist poor students to complete their studies and fight gender-based violence.

This was revealed by the institution on Wednesday.

A spokesperson, Norma Zondo, said that the funds were sourced by the university’s vice-chancellor and principal, Prof Nana Poku, to help the struggling students.

“This funding will be used to provide support to postgraduate students, especially those from historically disadvantaged backgrounds, and to establish a dedicated secretariat for addressing sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV),” Zondo said.

According to Zondo, the bulk of the funds — R15 million — will provide financial support to deserving postgraduate students. The primary beneficiaries of this fund will be indigent students who need support to graduate in this academic year.

She said that the process of finalising the precise selection criteria for eligible postgraduate students is currently underway.

Zondo said that each qualifying student will receive financial assistance towards their studies, up to a maximum amount to be determined by each of the university’s colleges.

The institution has faced numerous incidents of gender-based violence, including rape and killing of students. The SGBV programme will receive R2.5 million of the total funding.

When he was contacted to comment on this initiative, SRC president Wandile Majozi, said he was busy with a Zoom meeting.

Pictured above: UKZN Vice-Chancellor Professor Nana Poku, who has announced a R17.5 million boost for poor students, is seen here with former president Jacob Zuma and King Misuzulu kaZwelithini

Image source: UKZN