Johannesburg - Public sector union, Nehawu, has called on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme chief executive Steven Zwane to resign from his post by Thursday or face being pushed through “assistance” by the union.
This comes as the embattled NSFAS is facing multiple challenges in the funding of poor students, including the inability to clear its backlog dating back to 2016.
The union’s call also comes a week after the resignation of former board chairman Sizwe Nxasana from the student scheme - citing that he had burnt out over its structural crisis.
Nehawu, which welcomed Nxasana’s departure, said NSFAS could not change its fortunes for the better under Zwane’s leadership.
“Failure to heed our call to leave office the national union will descend on the NSFAS offices in Wynberg Cape Town to help Mr Zwane to vacate office. As Nehawu, we strongly believe that if qualitative change has to take place at NSFAS the CEO must vacate office with immediate effect,” the union said.
Nehawu said it would march on the NSFAS offices on Friday and proceed to escalate its strike action to universities and colleges across the country if Zwane continued to refuse to leave his post, where it said it would be backed by the South African Student Congress (Sasco).
“Should this march not yield the desired results, the war room will concurrently prepare for the worst scenario which would include amongst others the rolling mass action in universities and TVET’s which might compromise the functioning of these institutions and unfortunately affect academic programme of the last semester,”Nehawu said.
Speaking on Monday night during a roundtable discussion on youth unemployment and education at the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Sandton, Nxasana blamed the announcement of free education by former president Jacob Zuma without proper planning for the administrative challenges at NSFAS, which have seen students taking to the streets over unpaid allowances.