Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Correspondent
NATIONAL University of Science and Technology (Nust) students have engaged lawyers to force the institution to account for about $1,5 million said to be missing from their medical aid subscriptions.
According to documents being circulated among students, the university deducted medical aid subscriptions from learners between 2009 and 2015 but had not been remitting the money to Cimas, the students’ medical aid society.
They alleged Cimas was forced to ditch the university following prolonged non payment.
The students said the institution forced them to move to Heritage Health Fund where the same scenario played out.
“Now the university is paying doctors directly,” said a student who declined to be named.
Students are threatening to take the university to court to force it to revert to Cimas, the medical aid service provider, which they were using before contracting Heritage Health Fund.
The Chronicle is in possession of a letter confirming that the students approached the university’s registrar through their lawyers Kosam Ncube and Partners seeking that their issues be addressed.
“We have been advised by (students) that you have unilaterally established a self managing fund without consulting the students, as opposed to engaging an external insurer to provide medical aid services for students.
“May you advise if that is the position? If indeed that is the position, may you furnish us with the minutes of the meeting wherein the decision to migrate to a self managed fund was made,” reads a letter of demand by Kosam Ncube and Partners on behalf of the students.
Through their lawyers the students state that they do not trust the Nust administration in self managing their medical aid funds.
The students also want an account of how their bus and sports levies and first aid funds were being used.
They are also circulating a letter on social media written by Nust Student Representative Council president Terency Shoko claiming that university cannot account $1.5 million in medical aid fees.
“While it is a solid fact that the dealers rather leaders in the administration are yet to account for our $1.5 million we collectively contributed in our first aid account how surely on earth shall we allow an administration with an excellent record of daylight robbery to be the custodian of our funds. Wouldn’t we hazard allowing the creation of a conduit for another version of financial robbery? (Sic)” asked Shoko.
He said they made the decision to engage lawyers after the institution’s administration turned a blind eye on their concerns.
“Using internal legal systems has proved futile over the years. It’s either we’re involved in a meeting with the admin in which our voices are totally ignored or we’re sidelined and excluded from participating in the meetings at all. These meetings are designed to involve students from parliamentary level. These meetings were designed by parliament to involve students. With that, we have engaged the lawyers to invoke our right to be heard and our decisions also to be respected,” he said.
Nust’s director of communications and marketing Mr Felix Moyo said he had not seen the letter by yesterday afternoon. He said he would find out from the administration about the issue, after which he could be in a position to comment.
The university recently confirmed that students were not being treated at medical institutions as Heritage Health Fund is not remitting funds disbursed to it by the university.
Nust said the medical aid owes the institution nearly $92 000 as the university has been settling claims made by service providers.