Government Warned of Potential Chaos as NSFAS Funding Faces 10% Cut. The government’s plan to slash funding for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) by 10% in the 2024 academic period may leave over 87,712 tertiary students without support. Fees Must Fall activists are cautioning against potential chaotic mayhem, suggesting that student formations might strongly resist the funding reduction.
NSFAS CEO Warns of Funding Cuts for University Students
Acting CEO of NSFAS, Masile Ramorwesi, disclosed the possibility of a 10% budget cut affecting university students’ NSFAS funding in the upcoming 2024 academic year. This revelation was made during a briefing to the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher Education.
Former Student Activists Anticipate Mass Protests and a Return to #FeesMustFall
Expressing dissatisfaction, former student activists, including Rendani Nematswerani, warn that the proposed funding cut could reignite mass protests akin to the 2015 Fees Must Fall campaign. Nematswerani argues that the move is a disrespectful gesture towards the #FeesMustFall legacy and could lead to a second wave of protests against fee adjustments.
Call for Stakeholder Discussions Amidst Provocative Government Actions
Ntando Sindane, a senior lecturer of law and former student activist, emphasizes the need for discussions between stakeholders. Criticizing the government’s lack of engagement with students and university stakeholders, Sindane sees parallels with the pre-2015 approach, urging a more collaborative approach to address concerns.
Political Analyst Warns of Disastrous Impact on Black Community
Dr. Metji Makgoba, a political analyst and senior lecturer, warns that cutting NSFAS funding would be disastrous for the black community, which heavily relies on the scheme for access to higher education. He criticizes the decision as aligned with broader neo-liberal policies, reinforcing racial inequality and potentially harming the ANC’s constituents.
NSFAS Vital Role and Need for Protection
Makgoba underscores the importance of NSFAS for the government and the black population, emphasizing the need to protect it from potential threats. He highlights NSFAS’s role in empowering black youth and suggests that efforts should focus on improving efficiency and building capacity rather than cutting funding.
Reflecting on 2015 Understanding the Historical Context
Recalling the events of 2015, when fees were increased, the Department of Higher Education and Training, along with higher learning institutions, agreed to the fee adjustments. This decision sparked the #FeesMustFall movement, disrupting the academic calendar and resulting in protests, property damage, and student expulsions.