Avatar photo

By Enkosi Selane

Digital Journalist

WATCH: Blade Nzimande pleads for patience amid Nsfas fiasco, slams violent protests

Nzimande addressed practical experience and NSFAS issues in his keynote address at the new built "state-of-the-art" Tvet college.

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande has called for patience over the struggles at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, and lambasted protests over higher education that have turned to destruction.

Nzimande was giving an address at the official opening of the new Sterkspruit Engineering campus of the Ikhala Technical and Vocational Education and Training (Tvet) College in Eastern Cape on Thursday.

There he addressed the lack of practical work experience among college goers, NSFAS challenges and the need to balance rural and urban education.

‘We are going to fix all these NSFAS problems’

The Nsfas board was last week dissolved and the scheme was placed under administration. Among the reasons for the decision was its alleged failure to address student challenges or take action against alleged improper conduct.

Nzimande said he did not like hearing students complain about not receiving their allowances because that distracts them from focusing on school.

“We are going to fix all these NSFAS problems. I called the NSFAS people you see here today. I told them that I should find them here so they can listen to all student complaints, so that they may be solved,” he added.

ALSO READ: Nsfas needs a complete overhaul

He asked students to be patient while issues were being attended to but warned against the destruction of property during protests.

“This is a no-go area. To burn and destroy education infrastructure is counter-revolutionary.

“Everything I have spoken about here is a direct product of student struggles. So why do you want to destroy it?” he questioned.

NSFAS accommodation allowance

The minister clarified that the accommodation allowance cap set for students do not mean that it is the amount due to every student for accommodation.

“We will pay up to a maximum of R55 000 per annum, which is 10 months. We do not mean that the government will owe you when you stay at an accommodation lower than this amount. There is no such thing,” he clarified.

Nzimande also said NSFAS will never send accommodation money to student’s personal bank accounts.

Colleges are not second-rate

He pleaded with the public not to undermine college qualifications, or regard them as second-grade choices.

ALSO READ: ‘There’s no reason why I should resign’ – Nzimande slams parties for ‘playing politics’

“Colleges must be institutions of choice, not second grade. Don’t think of going to college because of failing to enter university,” he added.

He said TVET colleges breed the most scarce skills and their programmes are benchmarked against the best internationally.  

WATCH: Nzimande keynote address at new Sterkspruit TVET College launch:

According to Nzimande, the Department of Higher Education has built over 15 colleges around South Africa over the last six or seven years to “correct the imbalance in rural and urban areas”.

He said the cost of these colleges was approximately R2.21 bn, with R1bn contributed by SETAs.

NOW READ: Nzimande pulls knives out as Outa stands by report claims