EFFSC STATEMENT ON WESTERN CAPE STUDENT PROTESTS AND NSFAS CORRUPT PAYMENT
The Economic Freedom Fighters Students’ Command (EFFSC) notes the student protest action taking place in the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and the University of the Western Cape (UWC).
The protest action is triggered by, among other things, the recent announcement of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to use third party service providers to pay student allowances, as opposed to paying the allowances directly to the bank accounts of students.
According to media posts and statements of NSFAS, Tenetch Technologies would be used as the dodgy ,middle-man” to distribute student allowances to the following universities;
• Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
• University of Itwa-Zulu Natal
• University of Venda
• University of Pretoria
• University of Western Cape
• University of Witwatersrand
• Walter Sisulu University
eZaga to distribute student allowances to;
• Durban University of Technology
• Tshwane University of Technology
• University of Free State
• University of Limpopo
• University of Zululand
• Vaal University of Technology
Noracco to distribute student allowances to;
• Central University of Technology
• Mangosuthu University of Technology
• Nelson Mandela University
• North West University
• University of Fort Hare
• University of Johannesburg
This criminal enterprise is not emerging for the first time, as NSFAS attempted to tender the distribution of allowances to service providers who did not have banking licenses in the recent past.
Shockingly, it was revealed that these businesses which NSFAS had earmarked also did not have VAT registrations. In its scheming, NSFAS advertised two bids and later cancelled them, only to open a third bid for fly-by-night companies which were either recently registered or have had no business for years until the NSFAS bids.
eZaga and Tenetch Technologies form part of these dodgy service providers. eZaga was registered in 2017, and Tenetch was register. in 2013 but remained stagnant and inactive until 2021.
Other examples are Noracco and Coinvest, which were both registered in 2018.
These are all companies which emerge out of nowhere, with no meaningful experience in the financial services sector, nor higher education, yet are trusted with the administration and management of Billions of Rands by NSFAS, enabled by the department of higher education and training.
Those who will be on the receiving end of these questionable tenders are taxpayers, and more so vulnerable students who will suffer through exorbitant and illogical transaction fees.
Not so long ago the Special Investigating Unit (Sill) revealed how NSFAS was complicit in the fraudulent administration of student funding and allowances. It has become a norm in many institutions for NSFAS, through these dodgy “middle-man” service providers, to pay allowances to ghost students in an attempt to siphon money and plunder public resources which should be used to alleviate the funding crisis in South Africa.
The student protests also emerge as the harsh reality of the R 45 000 cap on student accommodation sets in. The department of higher education and training has failed to mitigate the impasse between university residences, private accommodation providers and NSFAS.
To expect poor students to pay the shortfall, which in many cases goes up to R 20000, is both cruel and nonsensical. NSFAS must either scrap the cap or the sector must impose a price-ceiling on cost of student accommodation.
Institutions across South Africa have render. Minster Bonginkosi Emmanuel “Blade” Nzimande impotent and helpless, as they continue to ignore his pronouncements on the withholding of certificates and degrees for students who owe fees. The impotent Minister has, on many occasions, taken platform to order institutions to stop withholding degrees and certificates from students who have completed their studies and cannot pay student debt.
Even if we were to agree with institutions that students must pay student debt, which we do not, it is simply illogical to withhold a student’s degree and block any and all opportunities for them to get a job to repay the debt.
In responding to these genuine and legitimate concerns the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Emmanuel Nzimande, issues a reckless and thoughtless statement calling on “universities management to tighten up security in all the campuses.”
Blade has effectively reduced himself to a makeshift police minister and security boss, by failing to deal with the issues raised by students constructively. This is a confirmation that our call for Blade to fall is relevant and accurate.
Higher Education needs a young and vibrant mind that will engage in public discourse and advance intellectual arguments which can have material gains for both students and the sector. Not an insecure pseudo communist obsessed with pictures and videos being taken of him.
The EFFSC stands with all the students who have taken it to the streets to .ice their legitimate frustrations. We will be engaging with all our SRC deployees in the country to outline a decisive response to this continued arrogance and disregard for students.