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MBABANE – About 4 000 Swazis who benefitted from government scholarships have been traced to be based outside the country.

This is according to the data that has been collected by the Study Loan Recovery Consortium which was given the tender to recover the loans from beneficiaries. The consortium comprises TransUnion, DataNet and S.V Mdladla and Associates.

TransUnion, a global company responsible for collecting and aggregating information on over one billion individual consumers in over 30 countries, is the one that has been tracing the beneficiaries.
Project Manager Khanya Magagula confirmed the figure and stated that TransUnion had helped in identifying the beneficiaries, including those who were now based in other African countries and overseas.

Magagula also responded to a concern that was raised by Member of Parliament Phesheya Hlatjwako who decried that the beneficiaries based overseas were treated badly by the consortium as it did not respond to emails that they sent.
“The consortium deeply regrets cases whereby our office has not been able to respond to any email. In the past few days leading to the deadline, our office has been receiving an overwhelming response from beneficiaries who have been coming to the offices to make their study loan repayment arrangements.

“This has therefore put a lot of pressure on the consultants who service the beneficiaries who physically come to the office as they are the same consultants who respond to the emails, thus resulting in the backlog of emails,” Magagula said.
Interviewed in Parliament on Thursday, the MP made it known that he was ready to move a motion to demand that the consortium stops mistreating beneficiaries and threatening them.
Magagula stated that they would do all in their power to ensure that there was smooth communication with beneficiaries and emphasised that the aim of the project was to recover the loans in a professional manner.
He highlighted that beneficiaries who had shown commitment through emails should not worry as they were safe even if they had not received responses.

Beneficiaries of the scholarship loans flooded the consortium’s offices after an announcement was made to the effect that they would lose the privilege of paying half the money if they did not show commitment by November 30.
The high number of beneficiaries who showed up, especially on the last day, forced the consortium to extend the deadline to the end of January next year. “With the deadline having been shifted to January 31, 2018 and the ease of incoming beneficiaries, our office will be concentrating on replying those emails,” emphasised Magagula.

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: Emabandla
Should emabandla have also been disbanded?