Students Evicted As NSFAS Scrambles To Pay Allowances

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Despite efforts from NSFAS to pay accommodation allowances to landlords, students are being evicted. This is a major cause of concern for the government bursary scheme.

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Students from King Sabata Dalindyebo TVET College are set to sleep in their lecture halls after being evicted from their residences. The evictions come as a result of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) failure to pay accommodation allowances.

NSFAS provides comprehensive bursaries and student loans to deserving learners enrolled in approved courses at universities and TVET colleges. The funding includes money for tuition and registration fees as well as several allowances for living expenses, learning materials and accommodation.

The accommodation allowance ensures students do not have to travel extremely long distances to attend class daily. However, the failure of NSFAS to pay accommodation allowances threatened to take this convenience away. 

Students say they have been waiting more than six months for their NSFAS allowances to be paid. This has led landlords to resort to evictions. 

NSFAS has recently announced that it has begun the process of paying landlords and has made a plea with landlords to not evict students. However, for these students at King Sabata Dalindyebo TVET College, the damage has already been done for many.

It's been 6 months now, we kept on getting it promises we were receiving dates, they keep on making promises that they will make a special date but we haven't been paid yet.

The local municipality has reportedly stepped in to provide food aid to the affected students. Amidst these challenging circumstances, some students are managing to stay afloat by sharing rooms and rent costs with classmates who are still receiving their allowances.

It so we just decided that those who can pay for the rent would take and \accommodate one of us so now we are sharing rent by three of two of us, those who are still able to pay for the rent, it's so difficult for us because we've been having this issue since January.

NSFAS Commissions Investigation

NSFAS administrator Freeman Nomvalo, has instituted an immediate investigation into the situation.

The Administrator is taking these reports seriously and has commissioned the verification of the list of affected students submitted to NSFAS.

Nomvalo, along with a team is set to visit the college next week to meet with all relevant stakeholders and resolve the issues.

The Administrator together with the NSFAS team will visit the college in the coming week to engage with the management, affected students, landlords and the Student Representative Council.

Earlier this week, NSFAS confirmed that the payment of accommodation allowances to landlords is underway.

Nomvalo called on all landlords who have not yet submitted their claims to send their queries to the dedicated email address [email protected]

We are still making a call to accommodation providers who may still have not submitted the information to submit and make sure that we can process those [payments].

The next scheduled NSFAS allowance payment will not be later than 18 June 2024 to clear all legitimate clients, said NSFAS.

Namvalo confirmed that the government bursary scheme has been inundated with calls from institutions about students potentially facing eviction.

"We were getting calls from almost every institution across the country where students were facing eviction and we made the payments to make sure that that didn't happen." 

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