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Monday, December 6, 2021

Magashule Foundation Bursary Recipients Left Stranded In Turkey Without Accommodation, Meals

THE Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has undertaken to financially assist students left stranded in Turkey after the suspended ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule’s foundation failed to pay up.

 Magashule’s foundation sent the students to Turkey in 2017.

DIRCO said letters sent to suspended Magashule’s foundation regarding the students stranded in Turkey went unanswered, leaving embassy officials to help them out, according to departmental spokesperson, Lunga Mgqengelele.

“Letters were written to the foundation and all other stakeholders. To date, nothing has been forthcoming from the foundation,” said Ngqengelele on Sunday.

According to media reports, officials from the embassy in Ankara had to fork out money from their own pockets to put the 21 students up in two tiny two-bedroom apartments after they were evicted, leaving some sleeping in a park.

They managed to put the 21 students up in two tiny two-bedroom apartments after they were evicted, leaving some sleeping in a park.

The students, who the Sunday Times met in Istanbul this week, were sponsored to study at the private Bahcesehir University.

They are now anxious about what they will face tomorrow when the booking of the flats they have rented runs out, and they again find themselves on the streets.

Aged between 20 and 28, the students have completed three years of study and have one year left, and are desperate to complete their qualifications.

A male student who asked not to be named said after they were evicted he slept on a bench in a nearby park.

Others slept on the ground on their clothes and belongings.

“It was humiliating,” he said. “The security guard at the park showed us a place where it was warmer, between two buildings in the park. We slept there for two nights before an official at the embassy gave us some money for these two tiny apartments. But we don’t know where we are going tomorrow.”

A mission report from the embassy reportedly stated that Magashule’s promises to pay the owner of the private student housing service “were unfulfilled”, and officials were “concerned that this matter would attract media attention and put SA in a bad light”.

The report was dated 5 September 2021.

The owner of Bogazici Student Dormitories, Mehmet Kara, said Magashule owed him over R13 million (€800,000) after not paying his bill for 32 months.

The students reportedly completed three years of their studies and had one year left to be done with their qualifications.

The foundation has yet to respond to the allegations.

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