'We are tired of lip service, NSFAS' - students march to financial aid headquarters

2019-06-19 18:49
Students from various universities and TVET colleges marched to the NSFAS offices in Cape Town. (Kamva Somdyala, News24).

Students from various universities and TVET colleges marched to the NSFAS offices in Cape Town. (Kamva Somdyala, News24).

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Government has paid lip service to free education and many students are being failed by the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), student marchers said on Wednesday.

Simthandile 'Azania' Tyhali, Students Representative Council (SRC) chairperson at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) was forthright when she addressed NSFAS administrator Dr Randall Carolissen outside the financial aid scheme's offices in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Tyhali joined students from various university's and TVET colleges as they marched to NSFAS headquarters in Wynberg to deliver a memorandum of demands.


"We are tired of lip service," said Tyhali. The student claimed that the announcement by former president Jacob Zuma in 2017 – that government will subsidise free higher education for poor and working class students - has not been fully attended to by NSFAS.

This, according to Carolissen, is down to past maladministration and the clean-up campaign he is currently on with his team.

Clear historic debt

Chief among the list of demands in their memorandum – which was received by Carolissen – is the scrapping of historic debt from as far back as 2010.

"All historic debt from 2010 to date must be written off," the memorandum reads. "Students who owe [fees] cannot access their transcripts." 

Demands have not been addressed and "poor black students continue to suffer".

Cleaning up

Carolissen accepted the memorandum saying he has been in communication with the Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology on NSFAS issues.

"NSFAS is resolving its administration. The challenges are many, and, in our clean up, we are finding more and more anomalies," said Carolissen.

In the event that the administrator does not reply positively, students would re-look the issue. 

"We cannot pre-empt the response [from NSFAS], but when the date of our deadline [June 28] lapses, we will once again engage them," said University of the Free State SRC chairperson Sonwabile Dwaba. 


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Read more on:    nsfas  |  education  |  student protests

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