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By Marizka Coetzer

Journalist


NSFAS: Pretoria club apologises for advert encouraging students to use funds

Europe Lounge advertised “Student Night Wednesday” under the tag “Nsfas Ingenile"


A popular student hot spot in Sunnyside, Pretoria, was in hot water for advertising students to spend their National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) funds on student night specials.

Europe Lounge advertised “Student Night Wednesday” under the tag “Nsfas Ingenile (funds have been deposited)” and sparked public outcry due to the event inviting students to enjoy discounted liquor – presumably with Nsfas funds.

READ MORE: Nsfas cap on accommodation funding forces UP students to sleep on the streets

Apology

Europe Lounge director Wayne Love apologised for what he described as the unfortunate use of the Nsfas name on a poster.

He said Europe management met Nsfas, the South African Police Service (Saps) and the SA Union of Students (Saus) and removed the poster from all social media platforms.

“We got a visit from Nsfas, Saps and Saus out of concern due to the public outcry the advert caused. We apologise for the unfortunate use of the Nsfas name,” he said.

‘Irresponsible’

Love said it was irresponsible and discouraged students from using the fund money on alcohol and other expenses other than what it was intended for.

Two students who agreed to speak anonymously said they visited the lounge last week for the first time and described it as a place with a nice vibe. “But it doesn’t mean I will waste my money there, especially not my Nsfas funds,” one student said.

The students were shocked to see the poster and said it was a bad idea. “They know their target market and I guarantee you they will fill the club up,” the other student added.

“We use our money on food and sometimes clothes. I want to see value for my money so I spend it wisely.” The students said the Nsfas money was not enough and they worked as waitresses at weekends to earn extra money.

Nsfas condemns act

Nsfas spokesperson Maduvha Maseda said they condemned the lounge offering discounted prices on alcoholic beverages to students, using the tagline “Nsfas Ingenile”.

“This reckless behaviour not only perpetuates undue use of the Nsfas allowance by beneficiaries but it also counters the efforts by the scheme to instil financial responsibility to beneficiaries.”

Maseda said the entity would take legal steps to ensure that Europa was held accountable. “The allowances disbursed to Nsfas beneficiaries are intended to help students from poor backgrounds with food, transport [where necessary], learning material and other living expenses.”

He said through the new direct payment system (the Nsfas bank account), Nsfas seeks to monitor students’ purchasing trends, aiming to ensure allowances are spent accordingly.

Numerous students have reacted to the Nsfas Twitter post asking for the outcomes of their applications, with some claiming to wait for more than three months for feedback.

ALSO READ: Is NSFAS sustainable? More needs to be done to help poor university students

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