National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) Board Chairperson, Ernest Khoza, says the new eZaga payment system will allow students to hold the institution accountable.
Khoza was giving an update on NSFAS’ current state of affairs following widespread student protests against the new payment system in recent weeks, with some calling on the Higher Education Minister to abolish it.
NSFAS recently introduced the new direct payment system for student allowances, through the scheme’s MasterCard.
Students are alleging that their meal allowances somewhat disappeared from their eZaga accounts.
Khoza says the system will provide students with value-added services and various financial literacy programmes.
“The advantages of the eZaga payment system include withdrawing cash at any ATM, transacting without limitations to certain retailers and performing EFT/ Online transactions.”
He says the system is secure and will provide students with peace of mind in knowing that they can hold NSFAS accountable for any late or non-payment.
“It gives students the financial freedom to accurately plan and budget for their allowances.”
Khoza reiterated that the financial aid scheme is investigating criminal activity taking place.
“There is no doubt that this is with the intention to steal student data and intercept allowances and render the new system unsafe, NSFAS is investigating such cases.”
According to the institution, more than 355 000 students have been able to successfully authenticate themselves and receive their allowance.
Labour federation, Cosatu, has also weighed in on the financial aid scheme’s debacle, saying the latest reports paint a bleak picture of endless chaos at NSFAS.
Cosatu’s Mathew Parks has called on the Department of Higher Education and the National Treasury to urgently resolve the issue.
“NSFAS has long been infamous for delays in payments reaching students and the universities and colleges who depend upon it. Many students have been wrongly defunded by NSFAS and then have had to wait from six months to years for their cases to be resolved,” adds Parks.
He says this state of affairs is tarnishing one of the most progressive investments by the government in poor communities, the youth and the economy.
NSFAS briefing below:
Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza