Call For NSFAS To Be Scrapped

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NSFAS ensures that thousands of students can obtain a university qualification through the provision of comprehensive funding. However, the leader of South Africa's third largest political party wants the scheme to be scrapped. 

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Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema has called for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to be scrapped. They believe the current system in place to ensure deserving students have access to tertiary education is flawed. 

NSFAS provides comprehensive bursaries and student loans to deserving students enrolled in approved courses at universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges. The NSFAS funding not only includes money for tuition and registration fees but also includes several allowances for food, accommodation and learning materials.

Currently, NSFAS distributes allowances to TVET college and university students differently. While university students are paid their allowances by their institutions, TVET college students are paid directly into their bank accounts. 

This NSFAS allowance payment plan was introduced in May 2024 following several challenges with the previous allowance payment system which saw fintech providers paid to facilitate payments to students. 

Malema says the government should pay institutions and students directly. They add that this can be achieved without needing NSFAS. 

They told supporters in eSikhawini on Thursday that NSFAS is being used as a tool for corruption.

We don't want NSFAS anymore. They finance the Communist Party with corrupt money from NSFAS. Why do you pay NSFAS if you want to pay for me in this TVET college? Pay the university directly. We cut out the middleman called NSFAS. Your money must go into your pockets directly.

Earlier this year, allegations of corruption were levelled at Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande and Former NSFAS Board Chair Ernest Khosa. These allegations are that Nzimande, Khosa and the Communist Party received kickbacks for the awarding of lucrative contracts to Fintech companies to facilitate allowance payments. 

Khosa was cleared of wrongdoing but still faced disciplinary action for discussing NSFAS matters with individuals outside the organisation. They later resigned before the NSFAS board was dissolved.

Minister Nzimande appointed an administrator in a bid to improve NSFAS services. The administrator said the main focus of NSFAS should be ensuring that students receive their allowance payments on time

The minister acknowledged the challenges at NSFAS and admitted that the scheme lost millions due to fraud and maladministration. 

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students holding nsfas bank card

Cancelled tenders, resignations and the dissolving of the NSFAS board are some of the events which have unfolded at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. Now, NSFAS has made another announcement concerning allowance payments.

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