The DA has written to Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande as well as the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) in a bid to seek clarity on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme’s (NSFAS) direct payment.
This comes after the scheme announced that its beneficiaries will receive allowances directly through the new NSFAS bank account.
Details of the new bank account were announced in June.
NSFAS urged students at various universities to register for an account to receive their allowance.
Beneficiaries will now be required to use one of four service providers, Coinvest Africa, Tenet Technology, Ezaga Holdings, or Norraco Corporation to access their funds via the new NSFAS Mastercard.
The scheme said the beneficiaries will be charged only R12 per month on their NSFAS bank account, giving them access to use their allowances in a manner that suits them.
But the DA said Nzimande would have to prove that students will benefit more from the services of these financial organisations.
“We hope BASA can give clarity on the cost structure from well-established banks and whether Coinvest Africa, Tenet Technology, Ezaga Holdings, and Norraco Corporation are accredited financial service providers,” the party said in a statement.
Furthermore, the DA called on Nzimande to account for the findings that emerged in an investigative report compiled by OUTA.
It said students and universities were kept in the dark about the direct payment system and its cost implications.
While students wait for their funding appeal outcomes, the DA said beneficiaries were still waiting on their allowances while service fees have already been deducted.
It urged Nzimande to tread carefully when dealing with NSFAS given its several corruption investigations and that the SIU investigation findings were still under wraps.