Graaff-Reinet college closed by student protest

Students complain of delay in payment of NSFAS allowance

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The East Cape Midlands campus in Graaff-Reinet was closed by students protesting about late payment of allowances by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). Photo: Loyiso Dyongman

East Cape Midlands College was closed on Monday at the Graaff-Reinet campus as students protested about delays in the payment of their National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) allowances.

On Friday exams were supposed to have started at the campus. But protests disrupted the exams. Students who were already inside classrooms came out and joined the protest. On Monday students sitting outside the gates of the campus, watched by a few police officers.

Anelisiwe Mato said that she catches a taxi to campus and desperately needs money for transport. “At home I live with my mother and she is unemployed and depending on the R350 SRD grant. She can’t support me with that money as it is not even enough for her and my little sister,” said Mato.

SRC member Sinokuhle Nobebe said she shares a room with another student who is struggling to pay rent. She said she has to buy food for both of them now.

NSFAS spokesperson Tsholofelo Zweni said they had not received any official information about the protest at the Graaff-Reinet campus.

“However, we have confirmed with the main campus that there was a strike on Tuesday, 18 April. NSFAS is working with the college to resolve the issues as quickly as possible. NSFAS pays colleges based on registration data received for NSFAS qualifying students and since the year has started, NSFAS has already made three payments of college student allowances,” said Zweni.

College Student Support Services Manager Sive Gumenge said students would not get allowances unless they had been confirmed as funded by NFSAS and proof of registration had been confirmed.

TOPICS:  Education

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