Students end strike as NMDS bows to pressure

MASERU –– A strike called by National University of Lesotho (NUL) students ended yesterday after the National Manpower Developmental Secretariat (NMDS) paid their loans.

The students boycotted classes on Tuesday vowing not to return to classes until they were paid.

The students demonstrated at the Roma campus on Tuesday singing songs and blocking cars seeking to enter the campus.

They accused the NMDS of delaying in the processing their student loans for the past three weeks.

When the Lesotho Times visited the campus on Tuesday the students were still marching at the campus.

A group of rowdy students is alleged to have stormed a small shop selling home-cooked meals and stole the food.

A worker at the eatery, who refused to be named, said the students grabbed some meat and papa and fled.

“We were so afraid when they came in with such force. They went straight to the food and grabbed some.

“They immediately fled when the security guards came in. Only two were arrested,” said the worker.

The president of the Students’ Representative Committee (SRC) Caston Thahanyane said the students decided to boycott classes after most of them failed to get their money.

“Students are broke. They do not have money to buy food or pay for their assignments. They were saying they would not go to classes until they received their money,” Thahanyane.

“It has been three weeks since the lists of people who should expect their monies were released. Usually when the lists are released money is deposited in everybody’s bank account. But that never happened,” Thahanyane said.

A student in the humanities gets M800 a month while students in the faculty of science get M1 500.

Last Sunday, our sister paper the Sunday Express, reported that students at NUL were broke after the NMDS delayed in processing their payouts.

The NMDS said it could not disburse the loans as it was still investigating cases of students who forged their results last year.

However, students at NUL said it was unfair for the NMDS to withhold their payouts because of a few fraudsters.

 “(The) NMDS does not care about us. This is torture at its best. How does someone decide to starve a campus of nearly 10 000 people because 10 people have cheated? We are angry because we are hungry,” said a student who refused to be named.

Another non-resident student said she was struggling to pay her rent.

“The rent here is so expensive. A single room without electricity costs about M400. For most of us our poor parents have had to take care of the costs for rent, food and learning materials,” she said.

Some students said the situation had become so desperate forcing them to “squat” with their colleagues.

 “Some students are at a risk of losing their houses because they are illegally staying with other students who are desperate,” she said.

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