Mandla Shikwambana, the President of the EFF Student Command, said Blade Nzimande, the Minister of Higher Education and Training, had failed students. According to Shikwambana, the student command demanded Nzimande’s “immediate departure.” He was at the heart of the campaign for Nzimande’s dismissal, claimed it was due to a lack of or broken promise of free education. “We want free education since the South African Freedom Charter states that all pupils would receive free education. We’ve had 27 years of independence, but we still don’t have free education,” he remarked.

After the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) failed to pay their lodging allowances four months into the year, some university students were forced to leave their dormitories. Students at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), one of the universities affected by late payments, have been receiving eviction notices since mid-March.

Some of these students recently had to pack their belongings due to a shortage of NSFAS pay-outs. The EFF marched to the Union Buildings yesterday to submit a memorandum expressing their dissatisfaction with the fact that students who rely on NSFAS do not receive any allowances.

The EFF protested just days after NSFAS announced on April 5 that the plan had received the first portion of its budgetary allocation for the first quarter of the financial year. By the end of March, Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape had also taken to the streets to protest NSFAS concerns. By the time of publication, the Department of Higher Education and Training had not commented.

By: Palesa Maneli.

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