The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is in a bit of a tight spot at the moment. After facing the music in Parliament to explain why R2bn had been paid to the wrong students recently, the organization had to come out fighting again on Thursday evening, as students at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) continue to protest against the funding body.
NSFAS square off with CPUT
It’s believed that some learners have not received payment from NSFAS, with an alleged total of R32 million missing from the accounts of various applicants. Lauren Kansley is a spokesperson for CPUT. She said the university had paid over R80m in NSFAS funding to students during the February-March period, after depositing R129m in the coffers at the end of January.
Kansley said since a number of students had not heeded numerous calls to update their bank details, “it was therefore impossible to pay” them – hence why a total of R32 million has not been processed properly.
The CPUT campuses have been closed since last Friday, as students continue to demonstrate against historical debt and the seemingly-stagnant progress of free university tuition. The Deputy Education Minister also explained to the media why NSFAS missed the payment deadline.
“We’ve asked CPUT why that money has not gone to the students. They indicated it is internal challenges of theirs, and arrangements they have with the banks. Some bank details are outdated, and only so many payments can be processed at once, hence why they can’t disburse the allowances on time to students.”Deputy Education Minister Buti Manamela
The R2 billion question
It’s been a chastening week for the university body: Facing the select committee on education and technology, sports, arts and culture in Parliament on Wednesday, NSFAS were given a proper dressing down over their “irregular records”.
Committee chair Mamagase Elleck Nchabeleng lead the follow-up session and discovered that the erroneous payments of roughly R2bn may be “irrecoverable”, given the state of their financial processes. To cap-off an unenviable week, NSFAS has also been blighted by load shedding this afternoon:
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