Exams postponed at King Sabata college over NSFAS funding

Examinations have been postponed at the King Sabata Dalindyebo TVET College in Mthatha following a week of student protests at the institution.

Students allege the college is dragging its feet processing their claims for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) allowances. They claim some students are owed NSFAS allowances from 2017, GroundUp reports.

Student representative council (SRC) chairperson Aseza Xulu said: "We inquired with NSFAS. They told us students were not paid their money because their applications were omitted due to outstanding required documents. The management couldn't help us understand how we could have outstanding documents when we've submitted everything to them, so we protested."

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Student protests against delayed NSFAS allowance payments at King Sabata TVET College in Mthatha have resulted in exams being postponed. (Photo: Kwanele Mketeni, GroundUp)

Read: National protest looming over NSFAS non-payments, student leader warns

Last Friday, the college asked students to vacate campus following days of no academic activity. A number of students were injured when the college's private security officers fired rubber bullets to disperse students protesting outside the premises of the institution.

Xulu said that SRC secretary Anelisa Mpuyu was now walking with the assistance of crutches because she was injured by a rubber bullet that hit her foot.

Communication and marketing manager at the institution Zigqibo Khahla said students were impatient. "Only 148 students have not been paid." He explained: "NSFAS has confirmed 19 students will be paid soon."

Also read: NSFAS applications for 2019 to open on Monday - Pandor

Khahla added: "The scheme said it was ready to pay 53 students but they first need to submit outstanding documents. Lastly, NSFAS was waiting for the college to confirm if the last 76 students paid tuition fees before it could process their allowance money.

"The college made the decision to close campus following failed talks with the students," Khahla said.

"Exams were supposed to begin on Monday, but the students refused to halt the protest. They insisted on writing the exams once they've received the money owed. We therefore decided to close campus for safety reasons."