The Democratic Alliance Students Organisation (DASO) at the University of Fort Hare East London campus would like to express its sympathy to all students who have been found wanting by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
DASO does not, however, support the SASCO led protests that have led to the damage of university property and the disruption of learning. This SASCO protest action has, today, led to the closing of campus thereby denying students their opportunity to access education and this is wholly unacceptable.
DASO and the DA Youth have long argued that NSFAS requires an overhaul in order to effectively deliver on its mandate. This protest action is yet another indication that the system is not working and that academically deserving students are being held to ransom.
The DA Youth last year submitted its proposals for the reform of NSFAS to the Minister of Higher Education and have repeatedly called for its reorganization. Not surprisingly our constructive input has fallen on deaf ears and violent protests continue to erupt on campuses across the country.
The defining issue of student life for our generation has been gaining access to finance in order to further our education. At the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) the DASO led SRC has successfully launched the following pioneering initiatives to tackle the problem of student funding head on:
NSFAS Debt Clearance Agreement
The DASO-led SRC have successfully negotiated with management to pay the full outstanding debt of all financially needy and academically deserving students with a debt of over R1500 who are NSFAS beneficiaries or hold a bursary operating through the Financial Aid Office for 2012.
SRC Bailout Fund
The DASO-led SRC have created an SRC Bailout Fund to the value of R600 000 which ensures that financially needy students that have outstanding debts of under R1500, and therefore not liable for assistance under the Debt Clearance Agreement, will not be prevented from studying further due to academic exclusion.
NSFAS Meal Allowance
The DASO-led SRC has also negotiated a R1000 increase in the NSFAS meal allocation for on-campus students, leading to a greater quality of life for those reliant on this NSFAS food grant for sustenance. Qualifying students will now receive R9000 per anum for food, up from R8000.
Our success at NMMU is proof that DASO is committed to excellence in education and student governance. It is time for the students at Fort Hare to vote for change and elect an SRC that is serious about delivering for all students.
DA Youth Provincial Leader, Eastern Cape
072 613 9265
DASO Chairperson – University of Fort Hare, East London
076 879 3547