The Economic Freedom Fighters Students’ Command (EFFSC) released a statement on the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) investigation and report on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
The report revealed that more than R5 billion was misallocated by NSFAS through corruption, unethical conduct, and maladministration.
NSFAS has a funding cap which only accommodates household incomes of R350,000 per annum or less. Those who do not fall within this category and are still unable to afford tertiary education costs are called the missing middle.
The EFFSC stated that while they acknowledge and commend the work done by the SIU in probing the stubborn corruption in the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), they take exception to the harassment of families which fall within the missing middle category.
“The EFFSC will never celebrate the harassment of a single mother who earns just above this nonsensical threshold, whilst having to look after more than one child,” read the statement.
According to the student organization, the SIU should stop its misguided approach and rather “focus on real corruption happening under Minister Bonginkosi Emmanuel Nzimande’s nose”. The EFFSC believes this was evident when Minister Nzimande tried to keep the report about the missing R5 billion in the National Skills Fund confidential.
The student organisation suspects that “had it not been for the intervention and outcry of the Higher Education Committee in Parliament, he would have succeeded in his quest to hide corruption”. According to the EFFSC, corruption in Higher Education has become more visible and brazen.
In the statement, the EFFSC pointed out that “if it is not the student accommodation mafia, it is the NSFAS syndicates who pay out allowances to ghost students and ghost bank accounts”. The organisation believes that it is this corruption which South Africans need to prevent.
The organisation continues to advocate for free education because they hope that through free education all students and families in South Africa will be liberated.