Serious says steps must be undertaken to address the “chronic ailments” at NSFAS governance. File Image/ANA

CAPE TOWN - The Progressive Professionals Forum (PPF) in the Western Cape on Monday said it would like to see serious steps being undertaken to address the “chronic ailments” of governance and management at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), beyond just increased government funding.

“The NSFAS continues to bedevil by inefficiencies which militate against the government's commitment to providing free education. Every year students from poor backgrounds have to contend with boycott actions in order to seek government attention to the plight of young people in a quest for obtaining higher education,” PPF Western Cape provincial secretary Azania Matiwane said in a statement.

“NSFAS administrative failures not only budget constraints are always central to these strike actions, it is our advise as PPF that as part of the budget speech, the minister of finance should announce measures envisaged to address the NSFAS problems as the institution is central to the working class' access to education.”

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is scheduled to deliver the 2019 Budget Speech which will give details of spending and revenue collection plans to carry out the programmes presented in President Cyril Ramaphosa's state of the nation address (Sona).

The forum further urged the minister to make announcements around the review of the compensation regime for essential workers, such as nurses, teachers, police, social workers and soldiers.

“These are workers who are at coal- face of government service delivery to our people and it's always ever important to ensure their well-maintained motivation as these professions have been neglected over the years,” added Matiwane.

The PPF further said it expected that as part of the funding plans for basic education, the minister should include funding for early childhood development incorporation to basic education, effectively migrating it from social development. 

“PPF would also desire an announcement on the establishment of the state bank. Financial services industry continues to be a thorn in the side of the SA economy while it also remains one of the most untransformed industries in the country. PPF expects and desires that the minister of finance makes announcements towards transforming this crucial industry,” Matiwane said, adding that the forum continued to call for legislation for the micro-businesses to be placed under exclusive local ownership. This effectively would provide social stability in the communities who experience attacks of these types of businesses that are owned by foreign nationals.

PPF further urged the minister to earmark at least R10 billion for purposes of encouraging entrepreneurial innovation and tax incentives for new product development.

“South African credit and insurance criteria requires revisiting to reverse the discriminatory nature of these products to black South Africans, and more particularly black businesses, effectively curtailing black participants economically,” said Matiwane.

African News Agency (ANA)