Cape Town - “Asinamali”, loosely translating to “We have no money”, was the protest chant by over 150 Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) students as they marched to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) offices in Cape Town.
Students from CPUT District Six campus, led by the CPUT EFF Student Command, marched to the offices to hand over a memorandum of grievances.
Two months into the start of the academic year, students still do not know if their applications for NSFAS funding have been approved or not.
EFFSC co-ordinator Khanyiso Xhaya said: “We are not satisfied with the current state of NSFAS, including the cap of accommodation of R45000. We are in the second term of the semester, these students did not receive their allowances as of yet. So they wouldn’t be able to buy laptops and textbooks, yet the university is going to expect them to pass.”
Some of the demands made included more funding to all deserving and qualifying students; that students doing modules that equate to less than 60 full credits get full allowances, including book and meal allowances; the scrapping of the n+2 rule; the scrapping of private accommodation top-ups, and fast-tracking the process of those who don’t have bank accounts and those with banks that cannot be verified.
First-year student and EFF Student Command member Retshepile Mathobisa said they were concerned about the students who had not received NSFAS funding, two months on.
“They are struggling to get food. If they don’t get NSFAS, it means their registration is not going to get paid. And next year, they won’t be able to register again just because there will be a financial block,” she said.
“It is up to them (NSFAS) to monitor each and every application and see to it that people from disadvantaged backgrounds get funding.”
The students have given NSFAS five working days to respond. It had not responded to questions by the time of publication.
On March 17, NSFAS said it would be increasing students’ living allowances by 10% for the 2023 academic year and backdate it to the beginning of the 2023 academic year.