NSFAS Denies Responsibility for Death of TVET Student

26-year-old Yonwaba Manyanya passed away this week and on social media her tragic death was blamed on the  student funding body NSFAS. The organisation has released a statement to clarify the status of her studies.

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News of the tragic death of a 26-year-old woman from Durban this week was widely spread on social media this week by her friends and youth activists.  It was announced that she was evicted from her accommodation because she could no longer pay her rent.

The woman was named as Yonwaba Manyanya and identified as a student at the eThwekini TVET College where she had been studying engineering.

Sibongile Mncwabe, Chief Corporate Services Officer for NSFAS told Careers Portal that they are aware of the untimely passing of Yonwaba and they send condolences to her family.

"There are allegations in the public domain that NSFAS has delayed paying allowances to cover the cost of accommodation on time and that Ms. Manyanya subsequently suffered from fatigue and hunger while living on the streets as a consequence of this delay. These allegations are factually incorrect, based on information we have, and that the college has." 
 
Mncwabe explained that while their record show that Ms Manyana was funded by them in 2020, she was not registered at the eThekweni TVET College for 2021. It appears that she had not met the progression requirements for her course - meaning that she had not passed last year so was not able to re-register for this year.
 
"She is part of a group of students whose progression status was continuously being queried with the college," explained the NSFAS manager in a statement.
 
The fact that NSFAS was not required to fund the student for this academic year was not a sufficient argument to placate the trade union federation SAFTU. 
 
"That NSFAS was not funding Yonwaba this academic year, does not absolve it," the organisation said in a statement. "If anything, this is an indictment on NSFAS and the whole fees-grant model which has been preferred by the 'communist' minister, policy makers and treasury," they said in reference to Minster Blade Nzimande who is responsible for Higher Education and also leader of the SA Communist Party.
 
"Even if Yonwaba did not starve to death because of NSFAS delaying paying the grant to her, where are many stranded students across the country, include at eThwekini TVET, who are suffering because of delays by NSFAS to pay grants three months into the semester".
 
"How do students study on empty stomachs? How do students study without textbooks?"

SAFTU's Full Statement
  
In their official statement NSFAS decried the fact that the sad death of student was being exploited. "NSFAS and eThekwini TVET College shared communication to the Department of Higher Education and Training explaining Ms. Manyanya’s funding status. The facts of the communication clear NSFAS of any connection to this tragic incident. It is unfortunate that this tragic incident is being used inaccurately and unfairly in an insensitive manner to the family and to defame NSFAS. This misleading, unfortunate and opportunistic approach is viewed in contempt by NSFAS and individuals spreading this inaccurate communication should be ashamed".
 
"NSFAS continues to be highly sensitive to the wide-ranging and essential needs of students and together with institutions, we prioritise the financial wellbeing of NSFAS funded students. We once again pass our condolences to the Manyanya Family," concluded the NSFAS statement.

There has been no official comment from the Department of Higher Education and Training of the eThekweni TVET College. Careers Portal will continue to try to get comment and will publish this if and when it is received.

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