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TUT Suspends Students Amid Nsfas Funding Protests

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TUT Suspends Students Amid Nsfas Funding Protests

TUT Suspends Students Amid Nsfas Funding Protests. The aftermath of protests related to Nsfas funding has led to swift measures taken by Tshwane University of Technology (TUT Status Check), resulting in the suspension of students involved in the disruptive events. The protests, which escalated during a march to the Union Buildings, prompted the issuance of suspension letters to striking students engaged in unauthorized actions that disrupted the university’s functioning and impacted fellow students.

Controversy Surrounding Nsfas Direct Payment Scheme

An investigation into the Nsfas direct payment scheme has raised concerns about its legitimacy and impact. Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) presented an investigation report in October 2022 regarding the scheme. Despite requesting relevant tender documents under the Promotion of Access to Information Act, their request was denied by Nsfas. Outa’s internal appeal followed in December 2022. They questioned the transparency of the tender awards, suggesting irregularities that might be contributing to the challenges faced by numerous students.

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Questionable Direct Payment System

The direct payment system implemented by Nsfas has raised eyebrows due to its association with entities lacking banking licenses and VAT registrations. These third-party businesses manage the direct payment of student allowances, charging higher fees than major commercial banks. This controversial tender has been estimated to amount to around R1.5 billion over five years. Students are required to cover costs directly from their allowances, as the fees are deducted from their accounts.

Nsfas Concerns and Changes

Ernest Khosa, the chairman of Nsfas, expressed worry about disruptions in learning activities caused by recent protests. These disturbances have centered on issues such as defunded students, direct payments, and the existing system’s shortcomings. Nsfas has observed fraudulent activities targeting beneficiaries and has decided to oversee allowance payments directly. This shift aims to eliminate unauthorized access to allowances and curb fraudulent practices facilitated by intermediaries.

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Clarification on Beneficiary Allowances

Khosa clarified that beneficiaries receive accurate allowance amounts based on registration data and institution-submitted claims. Reports of incorrect deposits into student accounts were labeled as false, and the majority of paid students have successfully authenticated themselves to receive their allowances.

Impact of Defunding

Following investigations into funding applications, students found to have submitted falsified or fraudulent documents have been defunded. A significant number of students—45,927—experienced defunding due to not meeting funding criteria. Reevaluation led to the reinstatement of 14,703 students, while 31,224 remained unsuccessful in their appeals.

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