Shut Downs Continue For NSFAS Allowances

Students at the University of Free State (UFS) are joining other South African Universities as they protest due to them not receiving their NSFAS allowances. The students are now calling for the University management to pay students their allowances out of their own pockets while they wait for NSFAS to disburse allowances.

Students at the University of Free State (UFS) are joining other South African Universities as they protest due to them not receiving their NSFAS allowances. 

According to the University's Student Representative Council, UFS has submitted the template required for additional living allowances. 

The students are now calling for the University management to pay students their allowances out of their own pockets while they wait for NSFAS to disburse allowances. The SRC will also be handing over a memorandum of demands to management.

UFS students are urging the University to compromise and do something to solve this issue as students need allowances for their livelihoods. In trying to have their demands heard, they shut down two UFS campuses: Bloemfontein Campus and Qwaqwa Campus.

The issues which were brought up are as follows:

  • Students cannot afford to wait until the end of NSFAS processes.
  • University has the power to give students allowances as they can use the money they have while students wait for NSFAS.
  • Students are currently writing and cannot do so on empty stomachs.
  • Landlords are evicting students because they are not able to pay their rent. The University must intervene and make sure landlords stop evicting students.

They are just making excuses. This University is anti-poor and they have showed it to us several times. 

- UFS Student Representative Council

The SRC continued to say that at the beginning, they were not loud with their concerns as they understood that a decision wasn't taken at that point. However, with the Department having announced that the academic year will be extended and so will NSFAS allowances, they want these promises to be fulfilled and soon.

The President of the SRC is said to have been detained by the police for "championing the struggles of the students", says a member of the SRC. Two students were arrested as well. 

UFS students were intending to take action which would result in the University being ungovernable so that their demands can be met.

Protests were also taking place at Vaal University of Technology yesterday as the University urged students to not come to campus. VUT posted the following on their social media page:

Staff and students are hereby notified of the student protest that started this morning, Monday, 7 December 2020 at the main gate. Everyone is advised not to try and access the campus should there be no urgent matters to attend to. Staff members are urged to continue working remotely where possible, to avoid unnecessary congestion at the main gate.

Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, announced the following:

NSFAS has managed to identify additional living allowances to cover meals and personal expenses which will be made available to those qualifying University students who require additional months to complete their academic year.

This extension of allowances is said to not include accommodation allowances.

UFS' SRC President said, "We have waited for two weeks now since the announcement and nothing has been done so today we woke up and decided that after having numerous engagements with the University, to say we are going to act".

Protests are ongoing all around South Africa as many students share the same issue of not having received their NSFAS allowances in time and having their day to day life impacted by this delay. NSFAS has said that they will be engaging with stakeholders when it comes to students being evicted from their private accommodation and is said to be finalising processes for extended allowances.

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