PhD student commits suicide after his study permit expires

Tragic news has fallen on South Africa after a PhD student at the University of the Witswatersrand allegedly committed suicide following the expiry of his study permit, leaving him unable to register for the future academic year at the University.

His death came over the weekend according to the University, which added that Philip Chuma, a Zimbabwean, was a dedicated student at the School of Education, according to News24.

Universities cannot enroll foreign students if they do not have a study permit, according to university spokeswoman Shirona Patel. Chuma had been in contact with Home Affairs to process his documents, which expired in January this year.

This follows the exemption permit debate that unfolded at the end of last year, in which the government reversed its directive to end exemption permits for Zimbabweans and opted to do not renew the ZEP beyond a 12-month “grace period”.

Last year, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group said 30.6% of students had thought about suicide by date in the last 12 months of the report, and 2.4% had attempted.

The conversations speak not only of the terrible pressure of the future for young people, foreign and local, but also of the growing concerns about mental health wellbeing in South Africa – for everyone who lives here.

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Picture: The mind