Wits students shut down FASO in NSFAS delay protest.

By Zainab Patel and Zinhle Belle

A number of student organisations joined the Wits SASCO branch in protesting at the FASO (Financial Aid and Scholarships Office) at Wits University on Monday, March 2, 2020.

The protest, organised by SASCO together with Wits EFFSC and the Wits SRC,  demanded that the first payment of NSFAS allowances be processed. The 100 students who were part of the protest managed to shut down FASO for around four hours and eventually had their applications processed once the office reopened at 3:30pm.  

The NSFAS allowances were expected to have been paid by Friday, February 28, but by Monday this week the allowances of approximately R8 000 had still not been paid. A number of students were not able to purchase their required textbooks and groceries to feed themselves as a result of the delay. 

Itumeleng Delete, a second-year speech and language pathology student said, “I use my NSFAS money to take care of my siblings and without it, we’re basically starving.”

Washington Mbulelo, a first-year education student told Wits Vuvuzela, “It’s difficult to buy groceries, my mother had to transfer me money, which put additional pressure on her because she is a domestic worker.” 

SRC president Thuto Gabaphethe told the protesting students that, “Management has told us that with the list (of about 500 students who had not received their allowances) we have given them, they are going to process those allowances by the end of today.”

A first year BEd student, who did not want to be named, and who was assisted at the FASO protest said, “They processed us into the system and we’re said to wait for the reflections today (Monday, March 2) but the money will be sent into our accounts tomorrow (Tuesday, March 3).”

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits Protection Services form a barricade at the entrance to FASO on Monday, March 3.  Photo: Zainab Patel