AfriForum Youth’s case against the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) was heard in the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town yesterday (14 April 2021). In 2020, NSFAS summarily cancelled funding of about 5 000 students, and 132 of these students then approached AfriForum Youth to assist them.
NSFAS alleged that the students had been dishonest with their applications and also sent SMS messages to the students, alleging that information had been received from SARS indicating that the students’ household income exceeded R350 000 per annum. In court it was admitted that NSFAS had not received the information from SARS but instead from a credit bureau who simply had made household income estimates. The case was heard by the honourable judge Sher, who described this admission as extremely worrying. Judgement was reserved.
“NSFAS is the problem. Universities that do not assist the students, or let them down, are only a symptom of the actual problem and all the empty promises made by NSFAS. In addition, breaking these promises is causing more problems on campuses across the country. We are hoping that the judgement in this case will be in the favour of the students whose future now is at stake,” says Chantelle du Preez, National Coordinator of Campus Structures at AfriForum Youth.
“Many students and their families are tensely waiting to hear what the judgement in this case is going to be, because it can have only two outcomes for the students, namely that their future is safe and they may continue their studies because the study debt will be paid as undertaken by NSFAS, or that they will have to do something else to pay off their unforeseen study debt and continue studying, which will mean that their plans for their future will change drastically,” Du Preez concludes.
AfriForum Youth will keep fighting for the rights of students who are being let down on campuses across the country. Further enquiries from students in connection with NSFAS may be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get involved with the youth structure of your nearest tertiary institution or town branch and help make a positive difference: Send an email to email@example.com.