A file picture of the TUT Soshanguve main campus where there were protests over meal allowances and accommodation. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/ANA

Pretoria - The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has moved to distance itself from blame regarding student woes over receiving meal allowances which saw them protest on the doorstep of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).

As of yesterday the university was forced to suspend their academic calendar once again, just days after it resumed, as renewed protests erupted at most of their campuses across the city.

This time however, students said they were protesting as the university was refusing to provide off-campus students registered with the National student financial aid scheme (Nsfas) meal allowances.

EFF Student Command chairperson, Kingsley Baloyi, said although the university had lived up to the agreement for all students, first years and seniors, to receive a R5 000 book allowance, they had failed to deliver on the rest of the issues raised by student leaders.

Baloyi said with regards to meal allowances, student leaders had been taken back and forth as to who was responsible for the non-payment of the allowances.

“When we go to the meetings the university tells us it is the DHETs responsibility and that they had come with the regulations. And the department tells us it has given that responsibility and power over to the university principal.”

He said it was due to this back and forth game that the stakeholders were playing, that the students decided to go to the doorstep of the department in the city centre to get answers.

University spokesperson, Willa de Ruyter, said activities at all their campuses would remain suspended tomorrow, due to protests that started on Monday.

De Ruyter said the decision to keep activities suspended was to ensure the safety of their students, staff and university resources, which was the university’s priority during this time.

Of the issues raised by students De Ruyter said: “The current protest action is related to the Nsfas meal allowances.”

“This is a national policy matter and not within TUT’s authority. However, management is actively engaging with DHET, Nsfas and other important role-players towards resolving the current impasse.”

Pretoria News