AfriForum Youth is of the opinion that Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa needs to accept responsibility for the recent violence at university campuses and hold the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) accountable for the contracts that they concluded with students.
This follows after students at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) this week started with protect actions due to increased university costs.
Students are, amongst others, dissatisfied with the large-scale financial irregularities at NSFAS and the unlawful suspension of study aid to approximately 5 000 students in 2020. Furthermore, big uncertainty also prevails regarding the financing of their studies in 2021.
“Even though AfriForum Youth strongly condemns the destructive protest actions, we also need to realise that this behaviour is the symptom of a larger problem that was created by the government,” says Bernard Pieters, Manager of AfriForum Youth. “Furthermore, the death of an innocent person could have been prevented if the situation was handled better.”
AfriForum Youth furthermore argues that the conditions for NSFAS financing must be made known annually seeing as there is only enough financing available for a certain number of students and that it is also subject to specific criteria.
AfriForum Youth began with legal action against NSFAS in 2020; this legal action is not only on behalf of members of AfriForum Youth but was also opened for students that are not members. 132 students whose aid was according to them unlawfully cancelled by NASFAS were added to the case. This case is being heard in the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town on 14 April 2021.
“We need to remember that it is primarily needy students that make use of NSFAS and that most of them cannot necessarily afford legal aid. Furthermore, NSFAS is depriving these students of the opportunity to pursue tertiary education,” concludes Pieters.
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