Suspended classes a direct link to NSFAS direct payment delays 

Issued by Chantel King MP – DA Shadow Minister of Higher Education
02 Aug 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Chantel King MP.

The DA will conduct oversights to various universities, after some institutions have decided to revert to online only classes due to National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) payment failures.

Delays in distributing allowances to NSFAS beneficiaries as well as incorrectly defunded students are forcing universities to temporarily suspend in-person classes until further notice. Students at the Mafikeng-campus of the North West University held a peaceful protest on Monday to highlight the plight of students – many of whom had not been paid since July.

These payment delays are hampering teaching and learning at higher education institutions across South Africa due to the service providers, Coinvest Africa, Tenet Technology, Ezaga Holdings and Norraco Corporation’s failure to timeously distribute funding to students.

The DA has been contacted by students who fear hunger and evictions from residences. Many of them have been struggling to get their allowances, while others received transport allowances instead of accommodation allowances. It is outrageous that students are forced to start the academic term stressed about delayed NSFAS appeals outcomes, being incorrectly defunding, and direct payment mess ups. These issues will have a severe impact on students’ mental health.

Management of institutions of higher learning are now forced to step in with hunger relieve programmes and negotiations with landlords to avoid student evictions.

The DA will not stand idly by while students and institutions are placed under duress during these crucial times. After our oversight, we will take these matters to the Minister of Higher Education, Dr Blade Nzimande, who is accountable for the higher education sector.

The denialist stance of the Minister and NSFAS board regarding third party funding challenges and incorrectly defunding of students has led to infringement of the right to access education and infringement of students’ dignity.

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