Earlier today, Monday 18 April 2016, a group of students gathered outside the EastCape Midlands College to protest against an apparent misallocation of NSFAS funding. Orlando Makunga, a representative of the East Cape Midlands branch of the South African Students Congress (SASCO) said that there is an alleged R17 Million in NSFAS funds that have been misallocated.
According to the official NSFAS website, students who passed all of their modules would be rewarded with up to 40% of their loan converted to a bursary. Another SASCO representative commented saying, “Some people pass seven subjects but don’t get their allowances which means the person [can’t pay their living costs]”. Makunga further claimed that the College only provides funding to students who achieve over 69% in their academic results which, according to the NSFAS website, is not an official requirement. The college is alleged to have also enrolled more students than it can afford.
Matthew Makeleni from the Western Region of SASCO said that they will continue to support the EastCape Midlands SASCO branch until the College gives in to the demands.
Students have pledged to remain in protest until they have been addressed and are prepared to continue into the night. Tyres and other debris were burnt which resulted in an armed police presence. The fire brigade arrived on scene to extinguish the fire.
Management was not available for more comment.
Words by Joshua Stein and Sam Johnson
Images by Joshua Stein