UKZN student threatens legal action after mix up

Lungelo Hadebe says that the University of KwaZulu-Natal has delayed his compensation for too long. Picture: Supplied

Lungelo Hadebe says that the University of KwaZulu-Natal has delayed his compensation for too long. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 5, 2024


Durban — A student from the University of KwaZulu-Natal is threatening to take legal action against the institution after an internal investigation found that his tutor at the time did not mark his assignment, which resulted in him failing his final year in 2021.

Lungelo Hadebe, who holds a degree in BA Criminology and Forensic Studies and is registered for his BSS Criminology and Forensic Studies, said he had to redo the module, which added another year and student fee debt due to losing his funding.

He said the institution did not engage with him until they were contacted by an Independent Media journalist and the institution offered him compensation on September 13 last year, the second year of delay in his studies.

“The institution has failed me and now they are playing victims. The agreement on the table was simple: full funding for this year and they will pay the R18 000 debt. In return, I pulled the plug on the story that was going to be published.

“The university has failed with its mandate and has failed me repeatedly from 2021 till now, with some outstandingly unresolved matters. I wouldn’t have come to the newspaper if they were transparent and if they had indicated where and when funding would come from,” said Hadebe.

Lungelo Hadebe says that the University of KwaZulu-Natal has delayed his compensation for too long. Picture: Supplied

UKZN executive director of Corporate Relations, Normah Zondo, said the university offered to cover Hadebe’s historical debt and further managed to secure funding from a Sector Education and Training Authority (Seta).

“Mr Hadebe has been cleared to receive the Seta funding and the process is under way. He is registered for his Honours degree and the university has ensured he has received college funding, which paid for his registration fee as well as 15% of his historical debt. The balance of his historical debt and tuition fees will be covered by the Seta funding in due course.”

Hadebe said that although he is registered, his mother had to take out a loan to help him register for this year, and she was now retrenched.

“It is true they covered the 15% fee, from what I was told in a telephonic conversation with a staff member yesterday (Sunday) is that the Seta will only cover historical debt, which leaves the other outstanding amounts unaccounted for, the amount including tuition R45 000 that I am currently registered for, and residence amounts which are R38 000 for the year and the deposit fee for the residence accommodation.

“The R7 400 was the Chum Trust Fund that is raised by the SRC in donations from external organisations to pay deposits and 15% for returning students. So the eligibility criterion is that every student can get the funding, not necessarily by provision from the college or arrangements. My acceptance to the Honours programme that I am registered for was solely acquired based on my academic merit. So nothing was done financially to support me as per the agreement with the dean.”

Hadebe said he has been stressed and he started attending therapy because of this inconvenience. He said he felt as if his dream of being the first graduate in his family was shattered.

He hopes to do his MA next year and requests financial support. It can be deposited in UKZN’s official account and use his student number as a reference: [email protected]

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