National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) board chairperson Ernest Khosa says it is perturbed by the protests and disruptions at universities and technical colleges.

News24 reports that students from various higher education institutions protested last week, demanding why 45 927 of them were suddenly defunded.

Students, such as those at the Durban University of Technology, also raised concerns about NSFAS' new payment system, eZaga, as well as delays related to payouts.

Addressing a media briefing yesterday, Khosa said: ‘(It) is not something the scheme takes lightly as it is an adverse of what we have been mandated to achieve,’ he added.

Khosa said 355 270 students had authenticated themselves to receive allowances. 

Khosa said before the new changes could go live, NSFAS had done its due diligence and undertook a consultation process with stakeholders.

‘It is therefore worrisome the disturbances in question are attributed to an insinuation NSFAS is imposing system changes. We pride ourselves in being an organisation that promotes accessibility and consultation,’ Khosa said.

He added the new payment method allowed NSFAS to ‘have full sight of funds disbursed to students’.

Khosa said they opted for this option because of fraudulent activities targeted at NSFAS beneficiaries. 

He added the new system avoided paying incorrect amounts, such as the ‘classic case’ where R14m was paid to a student at Walter Sisulu University.

Full News24 report