Cape campus shut down for three weeks over NSFAS payments

Some students started returning to classes on Monday. For two days last week students burnt tyres and wood in front of the South Cape Bitou campus.

 By Siphokazi Mnyobe

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For the past three weeks, South Cape College students in Bitou, Plettenberg Bay, have stayed away from classes. They have been protesting the late and non-payment of allowances by NSFAS. On Monday, some students returned to class.

For two days last week, students burnt tyres and wood in front of the TVET campus.

Of 469 students who applied for NSFAS funding, 326 were approved for tuition fees, of which 217 were approved to also receive monthly expense allowances, such as transport (R1,025) and accommodation (R2,800).

This year, first-year students only got transport money, even if students had applied for accommodation. Students who are now unable to pay rent face eviction.

South Cape College Bitou Campus Manager Chumani Webber said NSFAS took long to respond, only informing the college of the amount on 1 March. He also said the college had only received R39 million from NSFAS., whereas last year, it got R74 million.

The Financial Aid Committee, Webber said, was obliged to adhere to the Department of Higher Education and Training NSFAS rules for selecting students for transportation allowances. The reduced NSFAS amount meant this year’s first-year students received transport but not accommodation allowances.

SRC leader Lelethu Bobo said, “There’s nothing the SRC could do to change the criteria rule and guidelines.” Bobo said students sometimes find accommodation far from campus and they need transport allowances too.

NSFAS did not respond to us.

This article was first published by GroundUp.

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