By LIKHAPHA THAATHAA
Many international students who have been waiting since January for their South African Police Clearance Certificates have not made it to South African universities this year. The delays have taken their toll on their mental health. Some have deferred their studies, while others have given up.
Despite acquiring a new Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) in January, the police are now facing a backlog of more than 85 000 police clearance certificates.
Nyakallo Ntsinyi has finally joined her Rhodes University Post Graduate Diploma in Media Management class after receiving her certificate. But, she said the long delays incurred unnecessary expenses and put her under unbearable academic pressure when she could finally take her place.
She had to travel from Lesotho to Pretoria to check her police clearance, which involved expenses including Covid tests to cross the border to South Africa. “When the certificate was finally ready to collect, the premises were closed due to internal departmental issues. The process drained me emotionally, and I suffered minor depression and anxiety attacks,” Ntsinyi said. She said she felt like a failure.
“And the minute I saw that my class was starting with Module 3, while I was still doing Module 1, I was behind, and it would be difficult to catch up because I have depression already,” she added.
“While in limbo, I was given the opportunity to attend classes online with part-time students, and I’m grateful for the opportunity I was offered, but that was not what I was looking for,” she said.
Ntsinyi continued to mention that it was difficult for her to fight this matter alone, and she felt powerless. “The relevant departments from Lesotho never intervened. We had to handle the matter personally with the university’s international office,” she said.