UFS Students Protest Over Lack of NSFAS Payments

Students at the University of the Free State are wanting to shut down their University's Bloemfontein Campus due to NSFAS not paying their tuition fees and not receiving their NSFAS allowances. 

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Another student protest in now in progress as students from the University of the Free State (UFS) want their voices to be heard when it comes to delays in NSFAS payments for tuition and accommodation allowances.

These students are now wanting to shut down the University's Bloemfontein Campus and blockaded the main gate which lead to police intervention.

The South African Congress for Students (SASCO) has said that there are some students who are still waiting for NSFAS to pay their allowances.

Students have said that they know they qualify and are meeting the requirements to continue being funded but are still not receiving anything from the financial aid scheme.

The issues being raised is that there is an accommodation crisis where a lot of students are finding themselves in bad conditions due to not receiving their allowances. 

Landlords are said to be losing patience with students who are not able to pay their rent for months now.

A student said that he has not received accommodation allowances or learning material allowances and that this is causing issues for him, especially with having contact classes:

I don't have any private accommodation. I squat by some of my friends. I'm expected to eat every day and attend classes. I'm expected to pass a test. 

UFS management is said to also not be much help to the students as they are advising students to communicate with NSFAS, who then says they are waiting for the University.

"Nothing has been responded to, I'm still in the dark," he said.

SASCO's Secretary said that there was a court interdict against the congress and other student organisations which was made by the University in April:

We are disappointed with the University that instead of engaging with it's students, who are it's primary constituency, they resort to releasing and unleashing entities such as the police.

He went on to say that there were around 10 police vehicles while students were protesting peacefully.

"The University resorted to arrogance instead of engaging with the students," he said.

SASCO is also calling for the University to release data to students to use for online learning because the current system is not working and efficient.

They also want the University to scrap academic exclusions as many students are having to deal with challenges presented by the pandemic.

 

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