Home South African NSFAS recommits to funding students amid national university shutdown

NSFAS recommits to funding students amid national university shutdown

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As university and TVET college students continue to fight against exclusions due to historical debt, NSFAS chief executive Andile Nongogo has recommitted the agency’s goal to fund deserving students.

A group of ANC Youth League protesters gathered outside the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) offices in Cape Town on Monday. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

THE NATIONAL Student Financial Scheme Aid (NSFAS) chief executive, Andile Nongogo, said the fund will continue its commitment to fund eligible students, returning and new.

This statement comes after a group of ANC Youth League (ANCYL) members staged a protest at the entrance gate of the NSFAS building, prohibiting people from entering.

Nongogo met with student leaders on Monday where he recommitted the agency’s pledge to providing education to deserving students.

ANCYL student leader Lindokuhle Xulu told reporters that the government had the money to fund education but was not allocating the funds accordingly.

“The youth league is concerned about the future of the young people in this country.”

Monday marked the #nationalshutdown of all higher education institutions. The protest initially started at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) last week after students were blocked from registering due to historical debts.

The protest continued for a week. During a clash between students and police a bystander, Mthokozisi Ntumba, 35, was killed. He was shot with a rubber bullet while returning from a nearby clinic.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) on Monday arrested four police officers from the Public Order Police unit in connection with Ntumba’s death. They will appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday on charges of murder, attempted murder and defeating the end of justice.

In the early hours of Monday morning, University of Johannesburg students had already taken to the streets at the APK Campus Square. The Sol Plaatje University in Kimberley was shut down by EFF students.

Meanwhile, Durban Traffic Services issued an alert that the Unisa campus in town had students protesting in the roads, burning tyres and blocking cars on Stalwart Simelane Street in Durban central.

The DA tweeted: “While we do not support the #NationalShutdown of campuses, we do recognise students’ democratic right to protest. We call on the SAPS and other law enforcement officials to resist the disproportionate use of force against protesting students, as they did last week.”

Education activist Hendrick Makaneta appealed to government to invest in the future of students by finding ways to deal with historic debt.

“There is a tendency for government to treat student funding as an additional burden to the fiscus. We need to see funding for students as an investment rather than a fruitless expenditure. The students who want to be funded today may become the scientists and engineers who will make a meaningful contribution to the economy of South Africa.”

He urged the students to continue to intensify the fight for free education.

“After all, free education is the position that was adopted by the ANC since the freedom charter was adopted.”