Cape Town – A scholarship set up by President Robert Mugabe for Zimbabwean students to study at South African universities has reportedly been suspended after the fund failed to settle its debt of R11m in tuition fees.
According to The Times, fund director Chris Mushowe blamed the situation on former finance minister Tendai Biti, whom he accused of refusing to release funds during his tenure in government.
The report said, however, that students currently enrolled through the fund would continue with their studies, although there were claims that they are living in poverty.
The Presidential Scholarship Programme was founded in 1995 to give academically gifted students from poor families a chance to study at university.
Poor and unhealthy diet
Mugabe is the patron of the fund and the programme draws students from the country's 10 provinces each year.
More than 4 000 Zimbabwean students are currently studying through the Presidential Scholarship Fund at 15 South African universities.
A report by IOL last month indicated that the students feared a "bumpy road" as problems continued to beset the fund.
The report said some students survived on a poor and unhealthy diet last year as they did not receive their stipend and had no money for food.
Some female students were reported to have resorted to prostitution for survival.