MASERU — Two hundred and four Lerotholi Polytechnic (LP) students reported to the police on Tuesday after failing to get their allowances from the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS).
LP rector Tsietsi Lebakae said the students went to the police with the aim of warning the police that they had not received their allowances so they could end up engaging in a strike.
Lebakae confirmed that the students did not get their allowance by the time they went to the police but it was not the college’s intention to delay the students’ payment.
“It’s just that there was a mix-up of accounts that they were unaware of and this only came to light when the students lodged a complaint,” Lebakae said.
He said they had requested NMDS to give them 25 percent of the money for the tuition and for the students’ allowances to avert strikes and to ensure the technical college operates smoothly.
Ntsie said they had sent a list 1 452 continuing students and part of first year students to NMDS and the NMDS then deposited M10 million accompanied by a list of 708 students that had to be paid and after some time they got a second batch of payment for 345 other students.
“Since we had also requested our share from NMDS after disbursing the money into the students’ bank accounts, we assumed the two million belonged to the school so we went ahead and used the money for the school’s operations”.
“That’s how we interpreted it because we had asked to be given an advance”.
He said the truth is the M2 million was for 204 students but the school had already used it unintentionally for the running of the institution.
Lebakae added that when the money and the lists were sent there was no detailed letter about the money so that is why they ended up making assumptions about it.
The students saw their names on the notice board showing that they have been paid while in fact they had not been paid so that is when they visited the college’s bursar and the rector from where they later left for the central police station.
“I learned on Tuesday when I saw a group of students outside my office that they had not been paid their monies so I asked them to wait for me because I was rushing to a meeting outside the campus so that we could find solutions for the problem”.
“To my surprise when I came back from my meeting the students were not there then I later got a call from the police station that my students are there regarding their allowances”.
Lebakae said since he had apologized for the mix-up of accounts he expected the students to remain calm because LP authorities were already solving the matter.
He said he asked the students to come back to school to talk about their money “they came and listened with respect when I promised them that they will get their allowances the same day because they had arranged with the bank to immediately process the monies”.
“The money did not reflect in the students’ accounts on Tuesday as I had promised so I learned again that on Wednesday morning they went to the police station again to report that they did not get their allowances”, he said.
He said they had experienced some delays simply because when they asked the bank to pay it was already late to process at that time but they got their money because while he was addressing them he asked one to check and the student confirmed that the money was reflecting in his account.
He said it was premature for students to go to the police since the matter could be solved internally.
“We are however very ashamed of the situation that happened. what is important is what we have learned from that.
“We are again thankful of their behavior because they did not go out of order though they were angry,” Lebakae said.
On Thursday, acting director of NMDS Letta Matsuminyane said they had given the money to the school and they had confirmed with the bank and the institution that the money was in.
She said even up to this day they did not get a letter from SRC or anyone from the college complaining about the money.
“We have only heard about this in the media but no one came to us,” Matsuminyane said.
Police spokes person inspector, Thato Ramarikhoane confirmed to the Lesotho Times on Wednesday that Lerotholi students were indeed at the central police station.
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