Home South African Nzimande dismisses calls to scrap NSFAS payment method

Nzimande dismisses calls to scrap NSFAS payment method

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This month, it was reported that technical glitches affected the payment of funds to more than 100,000 students across the country.

Minister of Higher Education Dr Blade Nzimande. File picture: Chris Collingridge

MINISTER of Higher Education Dr Blade Nzimande has dismissed suggestions that he revert to the direct payment methods of disbursing payment of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funds to students instead of the recently introduced payment through financial service providers.

There have been suggestions for the scheme to rather distribute funds directly to higher institutions of learning after students complained of not having received their grants for months on end.

This month, it was reported that technical glitches affected the payment of funds to more than 100,000 students across the country.

Earlier this year, students staged countrywide protests against the new payment system.

Nzimande addressed a media briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday, after the Student Forum 4 Service Delivery (SF4SD) marched to the department to hand over a memorandum of demands, calling for NSFAS to be discarded and the funds to be transferred directly to universities.

“We’re saying Blade Nzimande must scrap NSFAS completely because it is an unnecessary red tape. In fact, NSFAS is chowing more from our students,” said the SF4SD’s Nhongo Solo.

However, the minister said he would not be yielding to the demands as he refused to give money directly to institutions.

“We do not intend to go back to giving money to institutions to then decide who gets funding, none whatsoever. We undertook an investigation some years ago and found that there was just a lot of corruption. That’s why we decided on a student funding mode. Let students apply directly to NSFAS,” the minister said.

Nzimande said there were efforts to simplify the application process, and he appealed to students to be honest.

“Please do not use this to take a chance because we are going to check; if you rob NSFAS, we’re going to come for you. We really need to urge parents and students not to do that,” Nzimande said.

Funding applications for the 2024 academic year opened on Tuesday and are expected to close at the end of January.

Students who did not qualify or were rejected for funding this year are encouraged to apply. No supporting documents will be required during the application process as third parties such as Sassa, the South African Revenue Service and the Home Affairs Department will be providing information to the scheme during the verification process.

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