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NSFAS Is Still Haunted by Unpaid Allowances

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NSFAS Is Still Haunted by Unpaid Allowances

NSFAS Is Still Haunted by Unpaid Allowances. NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) is set to provide an update on the ongoing process of resolving unpaid allowances. Ishmael Mnisi, the spokesperson for NSFAS, has announced that an official statement will be issued tomorrow, shedding light on the progress made in addressing the outstanding payment issues.

Commitment and Deadline

In the preceding month, NSFAS made a commitment to ensure that all outstanding student allowances would be processed and paid by January 15. This endeavor aims to prevent any adverse effects on students returning for the 2024 academic year. The delays in allowances, attributed to changes in registration data, necessitated additional input and consultation with educational institutions.

Impact on Students

Regrettably, the delays in disbursing allowances have had a tangible impact on students. Many were compelled to write their final exams without the necessary resources, facing challenges such as hunger, lack of toiletries, and difficulties returning home for the end-of-year break.

Ministerial Concerns and Appeals

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande expressed his concerns over the allowance matter and emphasized the need for a swift resolution. Nzimande has raised questions about why NSFAS, responsible for funding approximately one million students, encounters difficulties compared to Sassa, which administers grants to millions of South Africans. Additionally, he highlighted the importance of shortening the turnaround time for appeals.

Funding Allocation and Registration Fees

Addressing concerns, Nzimande revealed that R4 billion has been set aside for upfront registration fees. NSFAS will utilize its reserves to provide institutions with immediate funds, facilitating the timely registration of students. The minister urged for a smooth start to the 2024 academic year, cautioning against using it for political campaigns.

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Calls for Ministerial Resignation

Amid the challenges faced by NSFAS, Minister Nzimande has come under increasing pressure to resign. The call for his resignation stems from a report by Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) and leaked records alleging kickbacks from service providers. Despite these allegations, Nzimande, along with NSFAS board chairperson Ernest Khosa, denies any wrongdoing.

See also  NSFAS Application Close on Wednesday 31 January 2024

Opposition and Student Concerns

Opposition parties, including the DA (Democratic Alliance), have called for Nzimande’s resignation and raised concerns about the lack of updates on the distribution of 2023 funding. ActionSA staged a picket, asserting that Nzimande and the entire NSFAS board should step down due to their perceived responsibility for the crisis.

Conclusion

The unfolding situation with NSFAS underscores the critical need for efficient and timely disbursement of student allowances. The delays have had tangible consequences for students, prompting calls for accountability and improvement in the financial aid system. As NSFAS works towards resolving these issues, the focus remains on ensuring a smoother start to the 2024 academic year and addressing the concerns of affected students.

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