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Students march to Union Buildings over NSFAS defunding crises

The students claim that many of them have been unfairly defunded by the NSFAS and that they were also against the the new online payment system of their allowances.
The students claim that many of them have been unfairly defunded by the NSFAS and that they were also against the the new online payment system of their allowances.
Image: Herman Moloi

Disgruntled University of Pretoria (UP) students are set to march to the Union Buildings to submit a memorandum of demands over the defunding of students by NSFAS.

The dozens of students gathered at the University of Pretoria early on Wednesday morning with placards and were waiting for their peers from North West University and University of  Limpopo who were expected to join them to the Union Buildings lawns. 

The students claim that many of them have been unfairly defunded by the NSFAS and that they were also against the the new online payment system of their allowances.

The students are demanding minister of higher education and training Blade Nzimande to immediately fix the NSFAS crises.

ActionSA UP student chapter chairperson Donald Letsoalo said the memorandum will be directed to Nzimande and President Cyril Ramaphosa.

"The reason why we are heading there is because we have been experiencing a number of students who are defunded by NSFAS with various reasons such as missing documents and that others don't have legal guardians' documents," said Letsoalo.

He added that most of the defunded students qualify to be funded.

"NSFAS needs to do something. It's unfair that students have to go home because they are defunded. Everyone has a right to free education," said Charlotte Kelly, a BCom Accounting student.

Another student, Tamir Lipschilz, said: "I am here to offer support and help because they are in need of my help. It's sad that more students will be homeless and starving by the end of next week."

Last month, the NSFAS told Sowetan that it has cut out thousands of students which it believes were dishonest in their applications for funding.

The fund said for the first time in its history it was verifying information from applicants with public database including Sars, home affairs department, SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the credit bureau.

This after it found out earlier this year that it lost R5bn funding to about 40,000 undeserving applicants between 2018 and 2021. Those funds have not been recovered. 

Meanwhile, Tshwane University of Technology students have also embarked on their own march at the institution.


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