FIRST ON EWN: Wits students face major re-registering hurdle after alleged fraud

At least 40 students may not be able to re-register after being misled by people claiming to represent the Motsepe Foundation.

FILE: Wits University. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG –Eyewitness News has learnt that at least 40 Wits University students may not be able to re-register after being misled, allegedly by people fraudulently claiming to represent the Motsepe Foundation.

The students have told Eyewitness News they were approached during the Fees Must Fall protests by two people who promised them funding for their postgraduate studies.

The pair allegedly distributed application forms from the Motsepe Foundation and student aid fund NSFAS, asking students for their personal details and promising to settle their accounts so they could graduate this year.

Students say while no money was asked of them they believe the suspects may have been trying to con possible funders out of money by using their personal details.

One student says she realised there might have been something wrong when she asked the person claiming to be a Motsepe Foundation representative for a sponsor letter, so she could be accepted into her residence.

“We waited, the sponsorship letter never came but we were still promised that fees are going to be paid, it’s just some admin and processing issues.”

The two suspected scammers, who repeatedly promised that students’ university fees would be paid in a series of emails in 2016, did an about-turn last month, terminating their agreements, saying this was because the students were 'entitled'.

The Motsepe Foundation has confirmed that the pair, whose names are known to Eyewitness News do not represent the organisation and that it only deals directly with the Wits fees office.

The university says it is investigating the matter and will be providing affected students with various funding options, so that they can settle their debt and graduate.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)