Calls for Blade Nzimande's Resignation Amid NSFAS Student Funding Crisis

The NSFAS crisis in South Africa leaves thousands of students in limbo, with calls for the Higher Education Minister's resignation amid mismanagement and corruption allegations. Urgent action is needed to resolve the deep-rooted issues and support students.

Mazhar Abbas
Updated On
New Update
Calls for Blade Nzimande's Resignation Amid NSFAS Student Funding Crisis

Calls for Blade Nzimande's Resignation Amid NSFAS Student Funding Crisis

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in South Africa is facing a major crisis, leaving thousands of students in limbo as they await crucial funding decisions. Despite applications for NSFAS funding closing in January, many students are still waiting to hear whether their applications have been successful over two months later. Some have been erroneously rejected despite meeting eligibility thresholds, while others have encountered glitches in the system that falsely claimed their parents were unverified.

The ongoing issues at NSFAS have persisted for over a decade, with similar problems leading to the appointment of an administrator six years ago. However, the scheme continues to face the same challenges. Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande recently dissolved the NSFAS board and appointed a new administrator to address the situation, citing the board's failure to terminate contracts with irregularly appointed service providers.

Amid the crisis, calls for Nzimande's resignation have intensified. The Rise Mzansi Youth and Student Chapters, along with the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (NUPSAW), have demanded that Nzimande step down due to his alleged mismanagement of NSFAS and the resulting hardships faced by students. NUPSAW has also accused Nzimande of being part of the corruption that has plagued the scheme.

Why this matters: The NSFAS crisis directly impacts the future of nearly 1.3 million students in South Africa who rely on the scheme for financial assistance to pursue their education. The ongoing delays and issues with funding have left many students unable to afford basic necessities like food and housing, jeopardizing their ability to complete their degrees or diplomas.

As the 2024 academic year approaches exam time, the unresolved problems at NSFAS have left students grappling with hunger and homelessness. Many are frustrated and question what Minister Nzimande has been doing to address the long-standing issues under his watch. Experts cite a lack of accountability from both the NSFAS board and Nzimande as the root cause of the crisis, calling for urgent action to resolve the deep-rooted problems and ensure the scheme is fully functional to support students in need.

Key Takeaways

  • NSFAS faces crisis, leaving thousands of students awaiting funding decisions.
  • Issues at NSFAS persist for over a decade, leading to administrator appointment.
  • Minister Nzimande dissolved NSFAS board, citing failure to terminate irregular contracts.
  • Calls for Nzimande's resignation amid mismanagement and corruption allegations.
  • NSFAS crisis jeopardizes education of 1.3 million students, leaving many in hunger and homelessness.