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  • Written by  Poppy Louw, www.bdlive.co.za
  • Published in In the News
  • Read 1949 times

Apartheid victims to get education help

Students at Ibhongo High School, in South Africa's biggest township Soweto, in class Students at Ibhongo High School, in South Africa's biggest township Soweto, in class Photo: theguardian.com

VICTIMS of apartheid, including their dependants and relatives, will receive compensation in the form of education funding.

This comes as regulations to provide further tertiary education to those who were unable to complete their education during apartheid came into effect last Friday. But not everyone who suffered under apartheid will benefit.

The regulations, through the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, define victims of apartheid as people who suffered harm or were in distress, and extends the definition to their relatives or dependants.

The harm suffered by victims includes physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, pecuniary loss or a "substantial" impairment of human rights. More than 16,000 people were recognised as victims of apartheid by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in line with the act in 2003.

To qualify, the household from which the applicant comes from must not earn more than R198,000 gross income a year. Applicants have until February 7 to submit their applications for adult basic education and training, further education and training, higher education and skills development.

Funding ranges from R5,000 to R39,000 for tuition, depending on the course and institution. Additional funds will be allocated for travel, accommodation and textbooks.

Those who apply for learnerships and apprenticeships can expect funding of a maximum of R20,000 and R60,000 respectively.

A budget of R250m has been set aside for the next five years, which will be administrated by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and Department of Higher Education and Training.

Justice department spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said all applications would be considered.

However, Khulumani Support Group national director Marjorie Jobson said "a whole lot more" people who could benefit from the fund were being sidelined.

While the TRC recognised just more than 16,800 people as victims, Ms Jobson said Khulumani had more than 104,000 members who qualified as victims of apartheid. "The numbers don’t represent victims of apartheid and we have tried to make government understand this for nine years."

A once-off reparation grant of R30,000 was paid to about 20,000 people identified by the TRC in 2003 for suffering under apartheid.

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