Buthanani Ngwane, Sasco Gauteng provincial secretary, told reporters that their demonstration was sparked by unhappiness with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
“We are here today because we will be marching to the department of higher education and training. We are here because we believe that as an organisation, NSFAS is failing students. Last week, on Friday we marched to the NSFAS in Cape Town and part of our demands which still remain the same is that student allowances must be paid off,” said Ngwane.
He said the money being demanded by the students included allowances for meals, transport and accommodation.
“We have a situation where students must attend 80 percent of their classes, now if they are not paid their travel allowances, it means they can’t reach that 80 percent because they are not able to get to class. What does that mean? If they [students] aren’t paid, they can’t reach that 80 percent which translates to them not being able to write exams,” said Ngwane.
He appealed to the NSFAS to release all funds due to the students.
“We are also here because we are rejecting the new funding model that seeks to privatise NSFAS. We are also here because we want decisive leadership that will be able to monitor and hold NSFAS accountable. That, we believe is something which is not happening at this stage,” said Ngwane.
A statement released earlier by Sasco said the march to the department of higher education would be led by Sasco secretary-general Tembani Makata. Numerous police officers were monitoring the protesting students in Burgers Park – the gathering point of the march.