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Nzimande Nsfas Insights No Crisis, Positive Shifts, Ongoing Probes

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Nzimande Nsfas Insights No Crisis, Positive Shifts, Ongoing Probes

Nzimande Nsfas Insights No Crisis, Positive Shifts, Ongoing Probes. Higher Education, Science, and Innovation Minister, Dr. Blade Nzimande, recently shared his perspective on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas). He made several noteworthy statements regarding the state of Nsfas and its ongoing operations.

No Crisis, Just Some Glitches

Minister Nzimande began by dispelling the notion that Nsfas is in crisis. He acknowledged that the financial aid scheme may encounter occasional glitches. However, he emphasized that Nsfas is not facing a widespread crisis, contrary to what some government detractors might suggest.

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Fulfilling the Needs of Poor Students

Nzimande asserted that Nsfas is successfully meeting the needs of the majority of economically disadvantaged students. He highlighted the scheme’s pivotal role in supporting impoverished students pursuing higher education.

Positive Changes in Student Funding

The minister also reported positive changes in student funding for economically disadvantaged and working-class individuals. He mentioned that during the 2023 academic year, all qualifying students under the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) bursary scheme are being funded.

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Enhancements in Communication and Capacity

Nzimande recognized the importance of improving Nsfas’ communication systems and enhancing its capacity to respond promptly to inquiries. He emphasized the need for better interaction with applicants and beneficiaries.

Cracking Down on Improper Benefits

Nzimande issued a stern warning against students improperly benefiting from Nsfas. He called for criminal and legal action against individuals found defrauding the system. Illegitimate beneficiaries may face removal from the funding list and criminal charges.

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Investigations and Bank Charges

The minister disclosed that investigations into Nsfas-related matters, including the appointment of direct payment service providers and bank charges, are ongoing. The final report on these investigations will provide clarity on these issues.

Temporary Leave for Nsfas CEO

Regarding the Nsfas CEO, Andile Nongogo, Nzimande noted that the board had placed him on a leave of absence due to allegations and ongoing independent legal firm investigations.

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Reviewing Bank Charges

Minister Nzimande expressed his directive for a comprehensive review of the entire bank charges regime associated with Nsfas, including the monthly bank charge of R12.

Unfunded Students

He informed the public that 31,224 students remain unfunded. This is primarily due to the ongoing assessment of financial eligibility, which includes scrutinizing parental relationships and academic qualifications.

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Conclusion

Minister Nzimande addressed various aspects of Nsfas, asserting that it is not in crisis, outlining positive developments, and emphasizing the need for improved communication and capacity. He also warned against improper benefits and provided updates on ongoing investigations and bank charges.

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