Thousands of students not getting grants after NSFAS technical problem: DA
Jan Bornman | 2017-03-30 08:56:49.0
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Thousands of students dependent on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) have not received their grants yet.
This was revealed on Wednesday during an oversight visit to the University of Venda in Limpopo by the portfolio committee on higher education‚ according to the DA’s Belinda Bozzoli.
In a statement‚ the DA said it would write to the chair of the portfolio committee to request that NSFAS chair Sizwe Nxasana be summoned to appear before the committee to explain why students still hadn’t been paid.
“[On Tuesday] the Portfolio Committee could not meet on the campus of the University of Venda due to violent protest‚ triggered by the delays in the payment of NSFAS grants. These grants‚ distributed through the ‘sBux’ voucher system‚ are used by thousands of students all over the country to pay for private accommodation‚ food‚ books and travel‚” the DA said in the statement.
“A technical problem in NSFAS’s centralised system apparently led to the inability to make these payments.”
Bozzoli said: “If you’re very poor‚ you’ll depend on that money for your food.”
The statement said hundreds of thousands of students “have been seriously disadvantaged in the vital first weeks of their studies”.
The DA said it had received reports of students who have been forced to drop out of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges because they weren’t able to pay their expenses. The party said NSFAS distribution in TVET colleges was “cumbersome and slow”.
“As it stands‚ there is an entire generation of young people who have been lost because of the poor quality of basic education in South Africa. We cannot allow their opportunity for higher education to also be jeopardised.
“We will do everything in our power to try to find out what has led to this crisis and prevent it from escalating‚” the statement said.