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TUT Suspends Students Following NSFAS Funding Protests

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TUT Suspends Students Following NSFAS Funding Protests

TUT Suspends Students Following Nsfas Funding Protests, In the aftermath of a march to the Union Buildings that turned violent, students supported by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) have been handed letters of immediate suspension by the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).

TUT Suspends Students Following NSFAS Funding Protests

Suspension Letters Sent to Students Engaging in Unauthorized Actions

This week, students received correspondence from TUT, informing them of their immediate suspension due to their involvement in organized and unauthorized student actions that disrupted the university’s operations and impacted fellow students.

Concerns Over NSFAS Direct Payment Scheme

In October 2022, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) released an investigative report regarding the Nsfas direct payment scheme. Outa subsequently requested tender-related documents under the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

 Irregular Tender Awards and Resource Drain

Outa raised concerns about the irregularity of tender awards and questioned whether these tenders were contributing to Nsfas’ resource challenges and the students’ dilemma.

The organization highlighted that the new payment system involved businesses without banking licenses or VAT registrations, charging students higher fees compared to major banks.

Significant Tender Value and Associated Costs

Calculations by Outa suggested the tender’s potential value could reach R1.5 billion over five years. This significant cost was associated with providing students access to Nsfas bank cards, with fees deducted directly from their allowances.

Nsfas’ Response and Policy Changes

Ernest Khosa, Nsfas chair, expressed concern over disruptions in learning activities due to protests related to Nsfas projects and services. The protests highlighted issues such as defunding of students and the new allowance payment system.

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Payment System Transition

To address fraudulent activities and enhance the student-centered model, Nsfas decided to handle the payment of allowances directly. This approach aimed to eliminate unauthorized access to beneficiary allowances and the prevalence of ghost students.

Correct Allowance Disbursement

Khosa clarified that Nsfas beneficiaries received accurate allowance amounts based on registration data and institution-submitted claims. He dispelled claims of incorrect amounts being deposited into students’ accounts as fake.

Defunding Decisions

Investigations revealed that some applicants had submitted falsified or fraudulent documents, leading to the defunding of certain students. Of the affected students, 14,703 were reinstated after reevaluation, while 31,224 remained unsuccessful in their funding applications.

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