The Minister of Higher Education has re-addressed the situation where NSFAS pulled the funding of 5000 students. He said that Government does not tolerate corruption and that students are not excluded from this.
During a meeting with the Portfolio Committee, the Minister said, "we're not going to tolerate corruption, whoever is doing it. We cant say because they are corrupt activities done by students then we throw some kind of revolutionized solidarity with them. The fact of the matter is that NSFAS has discovered that there are students who lied about their family income."
We must name them just as the Zondo commission is naming people. Just like the MPA. Just like The Hawks.
Nzimande said that Government can't want to appear to be revolutionary by tolerating corruption in sectors but that, "as a caring Government, we said that it may be possible that amongst these students, there are those whose circumstances have changed. Either because of Covid-19 or for other reasons."
Students who had their funding pulled were then given a chance to appeal to have their funding restored.
We can't say that we are fighting corruption in the whole of society except where students are involved. We're going to have problems.
Funding was taken away from these 5000 students after NSFAS received information on their households from the South African Revenue Services (SARS). The information showed that these students who were unfunded have total household family incomes which were above R350,000. A key NSFAS requirement is that your combined household income should not be more than R350,000 per annum.
He then spoke on the student from Walter Sisulu University who received millions from NSFAS due to an error to further explain his point. "It means that that student who got millions of Rands from Water Sisulu should've been left alone in the interest of so called revolutionary solidarity," said the Minister.
I'm not going to be apologetic. NSFAS was precisely right ... I'm going to defend that with my life as part of what Government is committed to.
"There are many poor kids who come from parents who have nothing who are very bright, who might not have benefited from NSFAS because there are students who come from better families who are smart enough to cheat the system."
NSFAS and the Department received heaps of scrutiny after this decision was made and action was taken and was seen as irresponsible and an attack on the missing middle.