Students threaten to protest…as NSFAF withholds non-tuition fees

Stefanus Nashama

Students from different institutions of higher learning have expressed disappointment with the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF), saying the Fund has deviated from its mandate and failed to fulfill its promises to settle the monthly payment of non-tuition fees for April and May 2023.

NSFAF issued a statement last week informing students, parents and guardians that the Fund has implemented the payment of non-tuition fees of N$17 000 every month but only to students who are entitled to non-tuition fees.

However, the Fund did not settle the payment of non-tuition fees as it announced. NSFAF only made such payments to a few students, according to the Namibia National Students Organisation (NANSO) and Affirmative Repositioning Students Command (ARSC).

Kennedy Kandume the Fund’s Chief Executive Officer did not respond to questions sent to him.

NSFAF, in its statement said that students are to receive a monthly N$2 400 from April to September while N$2 600 is to be paid for October, and students who have not received any payments are to be paid in the subsequent month.

“The students who live in hostels and are entitled to non-tuition payment, their money will be paid directly to their institutions of high learning,” the statement reads.

On 26 May 2023, NSFAF stated that the first monthly payment for April and May was released to beneficiaries while another payment was to be released on Friday, 9 June. However, many students have expressed disappointment with the NSFAF, saying the Fund only made such payments to a few students.

Meanwhile, Affirmative Repositioning Students Command’s Acting Secretary-General, Iyambo Onesmus, yesterday said the Fund is zigzagging the mode of its operation by not providing much of the needed quality services.

Onesmus told the Windhoek Observer that a lack of coordination within NSFAF management has created a problem for the fund to not fulfilling its mandate.

He also indicated that the Fund already has a complex issue by not paying some of the non-tuition fees from 2019 to 2022, and the one for April and May 2023 monthly, and it has stopped with the initiative of giving laptops to students who are in need.

“I can tell, only a few students received the monthly payment of non-tuition fees for April and May, the rest have not received it yet,” he reiterated.

According to Onesmus, the NSFAF said it will pay on the 28th day of each month, which is in contradiction with the agreement.

He stressed that what NSFAF is doing is out of the agreement and its promises, adding that many students are now financially suffering because parents were also informed about monthly payments (allowance) that the Fund is struggling to settle on time.

“If parents know that you will be getting paid non-tuition fees each month, they have to cut the allowance they used to give you. This has affected many students,” he emphasized.

He said ARSC will take the NSFAF to court to compel the Fund to stick to its promises and mandate.

He also said the body will organise a demonstration if the Fund continues failing on the agreement.

“We urge the masses of our students to remain calm as we wait for NSFAF to promptly attend to our demands as soon as possible,” the ARSC said in the statement that the body wrote to NSFAF yesterday.

The Namibia National Students Organisation (NANSO) last week posted on its official Facebook page that if the Fund fails to pay the non-tuition fee as agreed, the student body is ready to organize a nationwide demonstration on 14 June 2023.

“We are ready to organize a nationwide demonstration against NSFAF’s inefficiency, ineffectiveness, and incompetency on the 14th of June 2023! NSFAF must fulfil its mandate to ensure that all students and trainees receive an equal opportunity to access higher education. We will not tolerate any incompetency in this regard,” the post reads.

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