SPU response to Student Representative Council

The Senior Management Team (SMT) met this morning to discuss issues raised by the Student Representative Council (SRC) in their statement released on 6 August 2023. The SMT responds to the SRC statement as follows:

During July 2023, the NSFAS allowance payment system was changed from a university administered process to a central process administered by NSFAS itself, via appointed service providers. The process change was not within the control of the University. The University has done an analysis of the cases brought to their attention by the SRC of students that have challenges with NSFAS. Overall, a total of 2 598 NSFAS students were paid through the NSFAS appointed service provider by 14 July 2023.

According to a list that was submitted to the Department of Student Affairs by the SRC, 107 SPU students were defunded as a result of implementation of the direct payment system. The Finance department conducted a thorough analysis on each of the cases submitted and found that most students on the listing received from the SRC were unfunded for valid reasons or were never eligible for NSFAS funding. As such, this is not a result of the implementation of the direct payment process.

Eviction of Students

Through the Office of the Dean of Students, we have facilitated a process of engaging the landlords to accommodate students at a lower rate. The students are paying rent up to a maximum of R2000.00. Students facing eviction should contact the AOCA office for assistance.

Accommodation of Defunded Students

The Office of the Dean of Students has sourced accommodation for 40 beds for students who are defunded. Students will be afforded the opportunity to be accommodated at 4-8 Old De Beers Road until their issues with NSFAS have been resolved. This arrangement will be for the account of the student.

Students Facing Registration Hurdles

Students facing registration hurdles are encouraged to contact NSFAS directly. The Financial Aid Office is able to steer students to the correct avenue for resolution of these issues, but are, unfortunately not in a position to resolve the enquiries.

Food and Sanitation

The University has made provision to assist registered unfunded students that are destitute to access food in our dining halls – this arrangement will be billed to the account of the student. Deserving students must contact the Office of the Dean of Students.

Dispensing License

This matter is currently with the Commission on Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and the Office of the Public Protector. In the meantime, the University cannot engage or comment on this matter as any commentary may potentially infringe on the rights of third parties. The Vice-Chancellor will prepare a formal response to the SRC in this regard. The Vice-Chancellor previously advised the SRC that they should not pronounce on management matters such as employment relations.

Sol Plaatje University supports the right to peaceful protests and is committed to listening to all student grievances if directed through legitimate governance structures. However, the University strongly condemns any acts of intimidation, violence, and damage to university property.

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