MACK MAKHATHINI and SPHAMANDLA GUMEDE
More than 500 government bursary holders and students of UNIZULU attended the one-day Start Smart Student Summit which was organised by the KwaZulu-Natal Financial Literacy Association, a public private partnership under the auspices of Finance MEC Belinda Scott. The event which was held at the KwaDlangezwa Campus taught students that poor credit records and being blacklisted even before you start earning, can impact negatively on your career and potential wealth.
Provincial Treasury’s Muzi Kubheka said: “Being blacklisted means you’ll struggle to get credit or a loan, even for something important like your studies, a house or a car. And even if the bank does give you money, they’ll slap you with a higher interest rate or ask you to pay a big deposit.”
Students were also warned by several speakers, that poor spending habits could also influence the students’ careers and job prospects. “Financial institutions and government will not recruit you in a position that requires trust, honesty and entails the handling of cash or finances, if you don’t have a clean credit report, and with good reason. We want to protect ourselves and our clients from possible theft. When one is in financial trouble, it becomes very tempting to put your fingers in the till,” said Kubheka.
UNIZULU Dean of students encouraged the youth to put into practice what they have learnt at the summit. “It is very important that you don’t over indebt yourself so that you are able to live a comfortable life.”
Students were encouraged to explore entrepreneurship and informed of the funding opportunities that the National Empowerment Fund and the National Youth Development Agency provide.
A student, Lady Peace Gumbi said she gained a lot from the summit. “I understand that when you start working the essential thing is to use money wisely and avoid debts. I thank government for affording us a chance at University level to understand how we should spend and invest money wisely.