Nsfas Spent Almost R50 Billion In Funding For 2022



Nsfas is celebrating a major milestone, and is taking the time to look back on its growth since the financial aid scheme was first introduced.



The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) is celebrating a major milestone of 30 years of service this year.

NSFAS has seen significant growth over the years, expanding from disbursing R21.4 million in funding previously, to now providing almost R50 billion in funding. 

When NSFAS was just established, they provided funding to 7000 students. In 2022, this number has grown to be almost 1 million.

However, the journey leading up to this 30 year celebration has not always been smooth-sailing.

The Chairperson of NSFAS' Board, Ernest Khosa, has acknowledged the many bumps in the road that the organization has been dealing with, saying that the original creators of NSFAS could not have predicted some of the problems the organization would face. 

Complaints and issues voiced by students about delays in receiving their allowances, difficulties with the financial aid scheme's portal/website, as well as the hassle of getting into contact with Nsfas and receiving a response have plagued the organization for years.

Other notorious problems include the demand for funds, the need to grow the base of funding, the FeesMustFall movement and fraud, which has prompted an investigation into Nsfas by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). 

The investigation, which was called for by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Dr. Blade Nzimande, was ordered after the Auditor-General’s report alleged that there was R77.5 billion of "irregular expenditure" at NSFAS in 2020/2021.

"I've heard about the R70 billion figure; it can't be correct that there's fraud up to R70 billion, to my understanding. That will only happen the day pigs will fly," said Khosa. 

Reports have also been circulating that Nsfas no longer has cash reserves. Khosa says that the reason why the organization no longer has cash reverses, is because of the extended academic year at the time of the pandemic, which has lead to some of the problems Nsfas has faced, but that issue has since been resolved.

Many critics have dubbed Nsfas as being a "failure" due to the numerous problems it constantly seems to be dealing with. 

"If you look at the amount of money that is moved towards the benefit of the students, you can't categorize Nsfas as a failure," responded Khosa.

Khosa also addressed the infamous incident of a student, Sibongile Mani, who "accidentally" received R14 million into her account, allegedly from Nsfas. The organization has continuously denied that it was an error on their part, distancing itself from the student and the legal proceedings that followed. 

"It was not a NSFAS problem, it had to do with [a] service provider [the student's university]. [She] had received the money from Walter Sisulu University. This accounts for the reason why we [Nsfas] were no parties at the legal case between the student and the [court], " clarified Khosa. 




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