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NSFAS blames Unisa for student non-payments

Students line up at a NSFAS office in Johannesburg.
Students line up at a NSFAS office in Johannesburg.
Image: Thulani Mbele

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has blamed Unisa for leaving students in the lurch, as they “should have by now received their allowances as a total of R247,078,688.97 was advanced to the institution on February 6 2019”.

“Universities are required to transfer funds to ensure that students are able to access funds for living expenses (accommodation, food, transport etc) and learning materials, and then secondly apply funding towards paying the first instalment of the tuition fee,” NSFAS said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Unisa along with... 25 universities agreed to administer direct payments of allowances to their students. More than R3bn was advanced to universities who complied with the preconditions of a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The first tranche of payments was meant to ensure that First-Time Entering Students (FTENs) and senior students who are NSFAS approved receive their allowances as they commence with academic activities.”


GroundUp reported on Wednesday that students shut down Unisa’s Pietermaritzburg campus on Monday, before they were dispersed by police.

Unisa KwaZulu-Natal SRC secretary Andile Ndaba told GroundUp that some students had not received their allowances in the first semester.

“Students were promised laptops. They haven’t received those laptops. Some students have not been able to buy books. They can’t start their assignments because they have no books. There are students who were rejected by NSFAS. We had a mass meeting and we decided that we are going to the streets.”

Second-year student Nonhle Buthelezi said she had not been paid her allowance.

“I haven’t been able to buy books. Last year we were fighting for the same thing. The university is not telling us where the problem is. All of us are coming from far places. We are not comedians trying to get fame. We are protesting because it is beyond our control. The right to education is for every student in this country.”

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