Lawyers Give NSFAS Two Days To Pay Outstanding Fees

Solidarity Youth has sent a letter to NSFAS demanding that they pay students their outstanding fees and allowances. This comes after many students were informed that NSFAS will not be paying their fees which has now lead to lawyers giving the financial aid scheme two days to reverse this.

Solidarity Youth has sent a letter to NSFAS demanding that they pay students their outstanding fees and allowances by 6 November. This comes after many students were informed that NSFAS will not be paying their fees which has now lead to lawyers giving the financial aid scheme two days to reverse this.

Allegedly, students were not given any reason by NSFAS behind them not disbursing funds to cover student fees. The students are also said to meet the requirements to receive funds.

Students depend on bursary funds to study and to complete their studies. To be informed out of the blue that one’s study fees have not been paid, comes as a huge shock, especially for a student who, as it is, cannot afford to carry this type of cost on his or her own. This failure by NSFAS not only has a direct impact on students’ studies but in reality, it also robs them of their future.

- Paul Maritz, Solidarity Youth and Career Development Manager

"This warning comes in response to NSFAS’s failure to meet its contractual and statutory obligations to bursars with regard to the disbursement of funds to tertiary institutions," wrote Solidarity.

Students who were informed by their institutions that NSFAS will not be paying their fees are said to have tried to contact NSFAS but this was not successful. With NSFAS centres being closed due to Covid-19, the only resort for students seems to be social media. 

According to the letter from Solidarity, three students were highlighted who were all successful in their NSFAS applications but the financial aid scheme just stopped paying their funds. Should students not receive their allowances, they will not be able to pay their rent or purchase groceries. If NSFAS does not pay students' tuition fees, they could then be suspended from their institutions. 

Maritz comments on this and said, "Students depend on bursary funds to study and to complete their studies. To be informed out of the blue that one’s study fees have not been paid, comes as a huge shock, especially for a student who, as it is, cannot afford to carry this type of cost on his or her own. This failure by NSFAS not only has a direct impact on students’ studies but in reality, it also robs them of their future".

In NSFAS not paying funds to institutions, they are in turn breaching the contract which was previously set and failed to perform in terms of the bursary agreements.

"NSFAS’s actions described above, are, simply put, descriptive of conduct heralding non-performance," read the letter.

Solidarity is now demanding that NSFAS "immediately purge their non-performance pursuant to the individual agreements" and that they also honour all future contractually owed duties.

"Solidarity will therefore not hesitate to take further legal action should NSFAS not comply with these demands,” Anton van der Bijl, head of Labour Law Services at Solidarity said.

Solidarity Youth forms part of the Greater Solidarity Movement which consists of 18 institutions, including the Solidarity Trade Union, the civil rights organisation AfriForum, and Solidarity Helping Hand, with a combined membership of 350 000. 

Careers Portal has reached out to NSFAS to receive further commentary on the matter to which they replied, "NSFAS legal office is dealing with the matter, therefore there will be no further comment on the
issue".

Click here to read the full letter sent to NSFAS.

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