ActionSA Youth are baying for Minister of Higher Education and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande’s blood.
They held a picket on Sunday during a briefing held in Pretoria by Nzimande, demanding that he account for challenges facing students ahead of the start of the new academic year.
Nzimande briefed the media on the implementation of the first phase of the Comprehensive Student Funding Model which he said targets students in the missing middle category.
He announced bold plans to fund the country’s missing middle students through a R3.8 billion fund earmarked to cover at least 30 000 students who belong in this category.
But ActionSA Youth Forum chairperson, Hluphi Gafane, was not impressed. He indicated that young people were frustrated by the minister’s detached approach to their issues, especially when it came to the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
“Yesterday, ActionSA staged a picket outside the Media Briefing of the Department of Higher Education and Technology (DHET), highlighting the frustrations of hundreds of thousands of students across South Africa. Minister Nzimande, seemingly detached from reality, thought it appropriate to hold a briefing on the 2024 academic years readiness, while a laundry list of issues predating the years commencement goes unaddressed,” Gefane said.
During their protest, the party called for Nzimande to resign over recent reports of corruption and bribery allegations implicating Nzimande and NSFAS board chairperson, Ernest Khosa, who last week took leave of absence while the student scheme investigates allegations against him.
“Joined by our activists and councillors across Gauteng, ActionSA repeated our demand for the immediate resignation of Minister Blade Nzimande and the entire NSFAS Board. There is little doubt that they bear the ultimate responsibility for this manufactured crisis, which has left countless NSFAS-funded students in peril.
“With an ever-growing set of challenges facing the sector, ActionSA believes that the ongoing crisis can be solely attributed to the disastrous 13-year tenure of the faux communist Blade Nzimande at DHET. He has single-handedly, with the endorsement of the corrupt ruling party, presided over the abdication of the department’s responsibility to meet the needs of South African students,” Gafane added.
Gafane added that ActionSA was disappointed at the appointment of Professor Lourens van Staden as acting board chairperson.
“Reports suggest that during his tenure as the vice-chancellor of Tshwane University of Technology, Prof Van Staden featured in allegations of financial mismanagement, and therefore, if true, ActionSA believes him to be unfit to lead the Scheme.
“In light of the potential ethical concerns associated with his appointment and the ongoing corruption crisis at NSFAS, ActionSA cannot endorse Prof Lourens van Stadens appointment,“ said Gefane.