The EFF Student Command says the decision by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme to cut the funding of 5,000 students was “callous’ and “a blatant attack on the poor”.
This comes after the NSFAS announced that the decision to withdraw the funding came after the South African Revenue Service provided financial information which revealed that the students had declared their total household family income to be above the R350 000 threshold.
NSFAS administrator Randall Carolissen confirmed that the students were funded for the 2020 academic year.
Reacting Carollissen’s announcement, the EFFSC said: “We see this as a blatant attack on the poor and a failure of government to provide a system of checks and balances that does not subject the poor to parading their poverty in order to get the assistance they require from the state.”
The South African Students Congress has also rejected the NSFAS decision to withdraw the funding to 5 000 students.
“As an organisation, we view this move not only as an inhumane act but as an act that seeks to deepen student struggles in the post-schooling and training sector. Moreover, Sasco is angered by this decision that comes during the times of Covid-19 and a lockdown of economic activities where many small-medium enterprises are at the brink of collapse, where unemployment rates are on a continuous rise and inequalities continue to widen,” SASCO said in a statement.
“Sasco interprets this move as but another exposition of control systems and incompetence of the financial scheme as headed by DR Randall [Carolissen].”
The organisation called on the following measures to be considered:
- Use the system progressively to determine funding of students and avoid the dehumanising process of proving how poor you are for you to be funded by the government;
- Reversal of defunding 5,000 students by NSFAS;
- Funding of all students with the family income of up to R600,000.
- Speedily appoint the board of NSFAS that has a track record of activism and that is pro-poor and working class, so we can rate NSFAS based on its Annual Performance Plans.
In a statement, NSFAS said the financial information was obtained from the South African Revenue Services (SARS).
“NSFAS has issued communique to all affected students to notify them of their funding status and the process that they should follow,” said the fund.
Affected students, however, now have 14 days from the date of issue to petition this decision by submitting proof of family income or change of income to NSFAS for review.
The documents need to be submitted to IncomeReview@nsfas.org.za.
NSFAS reserves the right to make the correct funding decisions based on its financial eligibility verification processes.
For the 2020 academic year, NSFAS received a record number of 543 268 first-time funding applications.
Of these, 430 000 applications were approved for NSFAS funding.
(COMPILED BY INSIDE POLITICS STAFF)