THE DEPARTMENT of International Relations and Cooperation says letters sent to suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule's foundation regarding the students stranded in Turkey went unanswered, leaving embassy officials to help them out.
“Letters were written to the foundation and all other stakeholders. To date, nothing has been forthcoming from the foundation,” said department spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele on Sunday.
The Sunday Times reported at least 21 students studying at the private Bahcesehir University were evicted from the Bogazici student dormitory after the foundation failed to pay the rent.
According to Bogazici’s owner, the foundation owed R13 million in unpaid rent.
The students, who arrived in Turkey in 2017, reportedly slept in public parks and were then helped out by embassy staffers who found them two tiny apartments.
Ngqengelele said the department was not allowed to financially help citizens abroad.
“The law doesn’t allow such, because otherwise we would have serious problems with the Auditor-General. Hence, officials at the embassy in Turkey are helping these fellow South Africans out of their own pocket.
“When you leave South Africa, we require that you at least inform us of your destination so that we can help you in the case of an emergency. That is a courtesy gesture from the department for citizens who travel overseas,” he added.
The Free State government sent students to study overseas when Magashule was the premier.
Most went to Cuba, China and Turkey, much to the dismay of opposition parties which argued enrolling the students at local universities would cost much less.
Image (Up in the smoke. Suspended ANC’ SG Ace Magashule -Foundation- left students stranded).