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Makhanda Students Burn Paper In Protest Against NSFAS

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Makhanda Students Burn Paper In Protest Against NSFAS

Makhanda Students Burn Paper In Protest Against NSFAS. Makhanda, South Africa – Students at East Cape Midlands College in Makhanda took to the streets in protest against the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), igniting three days of demonstration.

The uproar stemmed from NSFAS decision to redirect 90% of accommodation allowances directly to landlords, rather than disbursing funds into students’ accounts. This controversial move sparked outrage among students, culminating in a fiery protest on campus.

Students Grievances with NSFAS Policy

The crux of the students

discontent revolves around NSFAS altered disbursement policy. Formerly, students received their full accommodation allowance directly.

However, NSFAS recent directive reroutes 90% of these funds to landlords, leaving students with a mere 10% for personal expenses. This unilateral decision has triggered financial instability and hardship among the student community, igniting a wave of dissent.

Campus Disruption and Protest Escalation

The protest reached a crescendo on Friday morning when approximately 200 students congregated on campus, demanding resolution to their grievances. Upon noticing staff members present, protesters resorted to door-to-door activism, compelling them to vacate premises. Subsequently, symbolic acts of protest unfolded as students set fire to paper and cardboard near campus gates, under the watchful eye of law enforcement.

Student Leadership Speaks Out

Lindokuhle Kenene, the Student Representative Council occupational skills support officer, articulated the students stance. Kenene underscored the students understanding of the college position while emphasizing their insistence on rectifying the NSFAS policy.

See also  NSFAS Initiates Steps to Revoke Funding from Ineligible Students

Echoing Kenene sentiments, a student identified as Zintle highlighted the lack of consultation preceding NSFAS decision, condemning the reduction in allowances as detrimental to students’ welfare.

College Management’s Response and Call for Normalcy

In response to the unrest, College Principal Charl van Heerden issued a statement condemning the protest actions. While acknowledging the students’ concerns, Van Heerden urged for the resumption of classes, emphasizing ongoing dialogue between college management and NSFAS to resolve the impasse.

Students Advocacy Beyond Campus

The protest transcended campus boundaries as students marched to the local police station to amplify their grievances. This collective outcry underscores the magnitude of discontent within the student body and the urgency for substantive resolution.

Conclusion

The standoff between Makhanda students and NSFAS underscores broader systemic issues plaguing South Africa’s education sector. As students persist in their demand for equitable treatment and financial support, the onus lies on stakeholders to engage in constructive dialogue and enact policies that prioritize students’ welfare.

Only through collaborative efforts can a sustainable solution be forged, ensuring that education remains accessible and empowering for all.

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