The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape remains deeply concerned about the ongoing mismanagement of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funds that get paid over to the Northern Cape Rural (NCR) TVET college for disbursement.
Up until yesterday, the failure of the NCR TVET college to pay over stipends to deserving students, continued to spark protests in De Aar and Upington, where students were toy-toying. Students are divided, with some having received payments and others not.
To date, only 76 students at the De Aar College had received their allocations. Worryingly, however, there is no names list attached to these 76 disbursements, nor to the funding amount for 192 students that was paid over to the NCR TVET College for disbursement.
In addition to the current outstanding payments, there are outstanding NSFAS payments dating back to 2017 that have yet to be allocated to students by NCR TVET. The college also has outstanding bursary funds from CathSeta and an amount of R500 000 from WRSeta, of which not even a cent was paid over to students.
There is lack of systems and checks and balances in place on the part of the TVET college to ensure that payments are transparently processed and fairly allocated. This in turn opens the funding system up to corruption.
This is an issue that has been consistently raised by Democratic Alliance Students Organisation (DASO) representative, Ridwaan Smith, via the provincial legislature.
The DA views the funding issue in a very serious light.
We are calling on National Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, to conduct an independent audit on all funding paid over to the NCR TVET college for disbursement to students. We need to know what has happened to the missing millions that the college was meant to allocate and manage!
These funds are intended to help impoverished young people to have a better future through enabling them to study, and they should not be used for any other purposes.