Blade Nzimande allegedly broke promise of funding for disabled student

Blade Nzimande allegedly broke promise of funding for disabled student

- Lekae Combrinck-Nawa lost his legs in a 2013 car accident

- Blade Nzimande reportedly pledged to provide funding for his prosthetic legs in 2015

- However, Lekae said he never got the prosthetic legs

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A disabled student has claimed that the Department of Higher Education failed to fulfil its promise to provide funding for his prosthetic legs.

Lekae Combrinck-Nawa lost both his legs in a car accident in 2013, learned. In 2015, he enrolled at at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) to study graphic design.

According to City Press, his admission was however withdrawn because TUT's art campus was not disabled-friendly.

Following Lekae's appeals, the then Minister for Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, reportedly pledged to provide funding to upgrade facilities at the campus so they could be disabled-friendly.

He also reportedly pledged a grant to buy Lekae prosthetic legs. City Press quoted a letter dated January 2015 from the Department to this effect.

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Based on this undertaking, a prosthetics company gave Lekae prosthetic legs on a trial basis, but later took them away. Lekae said:

I was promised to be given something and I wasn’t. I learnt to walk in prosthetic legs and that was taken away.

The 23-year-old student, who recently obtained his national diploma, thus remains in a wheelchair. Luckily, his classes were moved to the ground floor and TUT installed ramps.

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The Department denied making a pledge to fund Lekae's prosthetics. The spokesperson, Madikwe Mabotha, said the Department only pledged funding for infrastructure improvement.

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