Nzimande’s announcements on NSFAS a band-aid on a self-inflicted crisis
11 March 2021
The interventions announced by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, regarding NSFAS funding today is simply a knee-jerk reaction by government to the recent student protests across the country.
Minister Nzimande today announced that Cabinet has approved the reprioritisation of funds to his department; a further reprioritisation in the mid-term budget later this year; and the extension of registration by 1 week.
These are not long-term solutions, but a temporary band-aid to buy time and cover up the fact that the ANC has fumbled its own “free-education” policy -- which was announced by former ANC President Jacob Zuma in a desperate attempt for his faction to stay in power.
Instead of playing open cards with students that NSFAS has seemingly run out of money, the government will now reprioritise funds. Where these funds will come from remain a mystery, considering that NSFAS was one of Minister Tito Mboweni’s casualties to bail out vanity projects such as SAA and Eskom.
The reality is of course that there was no money to finance free education when Zuma made the promise in 2017, and there is still no money now. Poor students are just pawns in the ANC’s factional game of chess.
The continued superficial solutions to South Africa’s higher education system have the potential to lead to continued disruptions at institutions across the country. A burden universities and colleges should not carry because of poor policy decisions by the ANC government
NSFAS is in the throes of imminent implosion and the DA will in the coming days communicate a comprehensive plan to turn the entity around and to ensure that poor students have access to quality education.
Issued byChantel King,DA Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Science & Technology, 11 March 2021