Students cannot demand that reminders of the country’s colonial past be removed, without stating what they want to put in their place, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said on Wednesday. “We live in a society that still has strong colonial features. We need to ask what the ideological programme for transformation is,” he told about 150 students at the SA Students’ Congress (Sasco) policy conference in Durban. “Some of you are saying decolonisation is the way, but what is the content of that? You cannot be demanding that things must fall without saying what must rise.” Government was doing “a lot of work” to help students and said when problems arose, the progress that had been made was forgotten.
According to Nzimande, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) had, to date, spent R50 billion since its inception in 1999.
“That is the achievement of your predecessors. You must appreciate it.” NSFAS debts to be cancelled He said government had resolved to cancel all debts owed to NSFAS for 2013, 2014 and 2015. This would benefit 71 750 students. “The slight problem we are experiencing is we cannot find many of these students. We cannot keep money aside and wait for a long time. Maybe we need a deadline.” An additional R2 billion had been made available to ensure any NSFAS students still in the university system in 2016 completed their studies and did not accumulate new debt, he said. by News24