Students to stage a stay-away until all NSFAS students receive their allowances.

Students at the University of Venda are staging a stay-away following protests at the university against the failure of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to release living allowances and approve appeals for student funding on time.

Protests turned violent early last week resulting in the arrests of four students on Thursday, March 30. The four were arrested and charged with public violence but were released this morning with a warning and free bail. Their cases will be heard on June 12, 2017.

The Student Representatives Council (SRC) president, Mandla Shikwambana, said that protests have been suspended to allow university management time to consider the late payment of food and textbook allowances through the S-bucks voucher system. S-bucks is the mechanism through which students receive their allowances. University management, according to Shikwambana will also address the issue of the shortage of accommodation on campus.

“We are still waiting for an update from NSFAS and university management,” says Shikwambana.Until then, Shikwambana says that students will stage a stay-away and classes will not resume until the students’ grievances were resolved. It is alleged that classes are meant to have resumed today however the university spokesperson could not be reached to confirm this.

University spokesperson Takalani Dzaga said on Monday that classes were suspended and would resume once all the students from the university had received their NSFAS allowances.

Dzaga said, “NSFAS started making the payments last week Monday but there is no confirmation of when the rest of the payments will be made. I have been trying to get a hold of my colleagues at the NSFAS office, however no one is answering and the phones just keep ringing.”

A delegation including staff from the University of Venda’s financial aid office have been in talks with NSFAS regarding payment of allowances, funding and appeals since last week Thursday with the final report expected on Monday, according  to Dzaga, who added that he is yet to receive this report as talks have not yet concluded.