COSATU urges intervention by government on the latest NSFAS payments chaos

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) urges immediate interventions by the Department of Higher Education and Training, National Treasury and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority on the latest National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) chaos.  Deeply distressing reports paint a picture of endless chaos at NSFAS.

NSFAS has long been infamous for delays in payments reaching students and the universities and colleges who depend upon it.  Many students have been wrongly defunded by NSFAS and then have had to wait from 6 months to years for their cases to be resolved.

Reports have now featured showing that NSFAS has begun moving students to a new financial payment system that will be managed by four private service providers.  Students have now complained about large fees being charged from their meagre allowance by these service providers.  Universities, in particular historically disadvantaged ones where the majority of students are on NSFAS, have struggled to function whilst waiting for months on end to receive their transfers.

This state of affairs is tarnishing the image of NSFAS, which is otherwise one of the most progressive investments by government in poor communities, the youth and the economy.  There is no excuse in a 21st century economy for this level of chaos to be allowed to continue.  The Department of Higher Education and National Treasury need to intervene and put in place a payment system that will ensure students, universities and colleges receive their payments timeously and without scandalous deductions by private companies profiteering at the expense of the poor.  If such a system can exist at the South African Revenue Service, then it should not require a genius to replicate it at NSFAS.  The Financial Sector Conduct Authority needs to investigate the deductions fleeced from students’ allowances by these companies and ensure that they are refunded.

Issued by COSATU

For further information please contact:
Matthew Parks
Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687