Sars must deduct from defaulting NSFAS beneficiaries – ANC

2017-03-12 22:44
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Johannesburg – The ANC has proposed that the South African Revenue Service (Sars) be roped in to assist the national student financial aid scheme (NSFAS) recover money from its former beneficiaries.

NSFAS has been struggling with recouping money from former students. 

In 2016 it announced that it was campaigning to recover R21bn owed to it by loan recipients, but only managed to get back R200 million of the debt.

The ANC released its policy documents on Sunday. These will be debated by structures of the party ahead of its 2017 National Policy Conference in June.

"Sars processes should be implemented to recover the loan portion of funding provided to working class and middle strata students by 2023," said the ANC in its discussion documents.

Government has had its hands full dealing with protests by tertiary students demanding free quality higher education. It also struggles with its NSFAS budget, which is often unable to assist all students who require financial support.

The fund previously asked Sars to assist in providing non-financial information about its debtors who were in formal employment.

"One of the issues that’s become clear is we are not reaching all who have been beneficiaries of NSFAS," said Naledi Pandor who serves as chair of the education and health committee.

She said the idea was to improve ways of reaching NSFAS beneficiaries so they could begin repaying their loans.

"We need improved systems," she added.

Pandor said the ANC had engaged with several party structures over the matter and had put together the proposals which will be discussed in June and possibly be adopted in December.

"Retirement age of professionals and academics should be increased," is one of the ideas put forward in the discussion document dealing with education.

The suggestion comes on the back of recent comments by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande that the country was failing to produce more academics. He said the current crop was ageing and if nothing was done to remedy the situation, the country’s institutions of higher learning would be hit by a crisis within 10 years.

Title deeds will remain a challenge

The ANC admits in its discussion documents that there were still state policy and institutional failures in making land available for houses.

The social transformation committee calls for bold steps to be implemented in order to bolster human settlement development. Some of these include implementing human settlement legislation, spatially transformative projects, targeted applications for housing subsidies as well as emergency housing and disaster relief.

The committee chairperson Lindiwe Sisulu said human settlement was a complex issue which went beyond government’s responsibility into the terrain of society.

"Our intention is indeed to ensure as we give out a house, we give out a title deed. The administrative work to go with it has been put in place. It’s taken long because it’s a complex problem," said Sisulu.

She also said the tensions between South Africans and immigrants had an impact on the housing dilemma.

"We have a serious problem now with the xenophobic issues, our people complaining that houses are being sold and used for other purposes," she continued.

Sisulu said a strategy had to be sought on ensuring that those who received title deeds were deserving of them.

"We would want to lay very firm ground work on who qualifies [for title deeds] and who doesn’t," she said.

Read more on:    anc  |  sars  |  nsfas  |  naledi pandor  |  education  |  politics

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