Students owe the state half a billion

2014-02-02 21:26
DUT protest (Picture: Supplied)

DUT protest (Picture: Supplied)

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Johannesburg - The National Student Financial Aid Scheme has enlisted the services of a tracing agent to try to recover the more than R570m it is owed.

Protests swept the University of Johannesburg, the Durban University of Technology, the Mangosuthu University of Technology and the Tshwane University of Technology as students demanded to know why there weren’t funds available for them to register.

This year’s budget for the fund, which expects to help more than 450 000 students in 2014, was set at R9bn, but the protests saw Higher Education and Training Minister Blaze Nzimande increase it by another R1bn on Thursday.

The aid scheme’s chief executive, Msulwa Daca, told City Press the fund had collected about R450m from its debtors last year, but more than R570m was still outstanding. He conceded that it was not easy to trace some former students.

He said they had now enlisted the services of a tracing agency.

Scores of other bad debts had been written off – though Daca was not able to provide a figure, nor to say exactly how many people owe the fund.

He said once students were employed and earning in excess of R30 000 per annum, the fund started deducting money due to it. 

The percentage deducted is based on the annual income of the debtor, it is not the same [across the board].

Nzimande has labelled the fund as one of the ANC’s best success stories of the last two decades.

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