The late payment of the National Student Fund Agency Scheme (NSFAS) has put students through desperate times some having to go on days shuffling the little money they have between food, transport and accommodation.
NSFAS announced that students will receive their monthly meal allowance and tuition fees from 3rd March until the 10th of March leaving students to spend their first two difficult months without assistance.
Students are generally aggrieved about this arrangement as it exposes them to hard times when they most need assistance at the beginning of the year and some being their first time at tertiary institutions.
It is only now in March that their nightmares came to an end when their first allowances were paid.
A student at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) Mr Thomas Lethoba, said they are relieved because on some days students went to bed on empty stomachs.
“I was struggling a lot because the money I was supposed to spend on food and clothing was spent on transport to school and I was starting to struggle to pay for accommodation,” he said.
Another student at TUT, Mr Moses Moonwe, said he was forced to sell some of his belongings in order to buy food.
A third year student who is doing in-service training, Mr Lungelo Mesh, said the two past months have been extremely difficult as most of the time he went to his in-service training from 8:00 to 17:00 on an empty stomach because his mother could not afford both food and transport money.
Students said NSFAS should seriously consider starting the payment of allowances at the beginning of the year because they need the assistance most in January when they have to get accommodation, buy groceries and have money for transport.
Mr Qiniso Mbili, a journalist at The Daily Vox at the Durban University of Technology said a Technology Management Science student jumped to his death after allegedly receiving an SMS notifying him of his unsuccessful application for NSFAS. Mbili reports that NSFAS later claimed Myeza had been approved for funding. He said there are many other students at the university with NSFAS complaints which he reports in his publication.