University Blames Student Action For Late Nsfas Allowances

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One South African university has faced increased protest action over the last week. It is believed that the protests stem from the frustration of students who have not received their government bursary allowances.


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One South African university has faced increased protest action over the last week. It is believed that the protests stem from the frustration of students who have not received their government bursary allowances.

Buildings at the University of Limpopo’s Mankweng campus were torched by protesting students on Wednesday. The institution said the delays in allowance payments were caused by the failure of students and landlords to submit lease agreements.

The institution says the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) does not permit the payment of accommodation allowances without signed lease agreements. A consequence of this meant that students could not pay for off-campus accommodation.

Limpopo University spokesperson Johannes Selepe revealed that several buildings were torched by angry students. However, they believe it is the responsibility of the students to submit signed lease agreements and therefore it's their responsibility that they were not paid.

Salepe said, “Some landlords and students still have not concluded their lease agreements despite numerous requests by the university. The Nsfas policy is that there will be no accommodation allowance if there is no signed lease agreement.”

They called on all landlords and students to ensure that they conclude their signing and submission of lease agreements so that the institution can facilitate the payment of accommodation allowances.

The South African Union of Students (SAUS) disputes this and believes it is the universities and Nsfas that are contractually obligated to ensure allowances are distributed to students on time.

SAUS spokesperson, Asive Dlanjwa says there appears to be serious incompetence from the University of Limpopo as other institutions were able to distribute accommodation allowances on time. This as the university has the responsibility of accrediting the accommodation.

They said, “Because you have failed to accredit those student accommodations it is your responsibility, not the responsibility of students, to ensure that you place the students in those accommodations and you pay those landlords.”

Dlanjwa added that the nature of the student accommodation facilities meant that students were unable to submit signed lease agreements on time. This is often the case when it comes to rural-based accommodation.

The union believes issues like this would not be encountered if students were paid accommodation allowances directly from Nsfas.

 

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