SRC deputy president Luvuyo Menziwa explained that, “The money was for students who needed funding but had not qualified for NSFAS or could not apply for NSFAS. The names of these students had been submitted by student leaders from various political organisations.” He said that UP management decided to give these students R20 000 for accommodation instead of paying for other costs such as registration. Students were given R20 000 to resolve the issue of being unable to afford private accommodation and had no viable alternatives. When the SRC heard about this, they challenged the decision “…and now students are getting R35 000, and not only for accommodation but depending on the need”, said Menziwa. Menziwa noted that in doing so the university’s management had neglected the fact that students did not have the same financial needs.
Menziwa said that these students were able to write exams, “[specifically] those that came to us and notified us that they were not allowed to write exams”. However, he admitted that some of these students were denied entry to their exam venue because they were still not registered. He advised that these students notify the SRC and that they will “see to it that they write special exams”.
Menziwa also mentioned that UP Vice-Chancellor Prof. Cheryl de la Ray said that she was willing to give a further R2 million for financial aid as a humanitarian loan.
Director of Student Affairs Dr Matete Madiba said that the rolling out of the new financial aid programme was experiencing teething problems as this is its first year of implementation. At the beginning of the year, the Department of Student Affairs had prioritised living expenses because there were students who did not have a place to stay. However, as the process continued it was found that students did not have the same financial needs. Therefore, the money was reallocated according to the specific financial need.
Dr. Madiba said that some students had not been registered pending the outcome of their academic appeals or because of high historical debt (this year registration closed before some students who had applied for NSFAS knew the outcome of their application). The original number of students that had needed assistance was 247, however the number was reduced to 112 as some qualified for NSFAS and bursaries.
Dr. Madiba expressed that the money needed for the 112 students already exceeded the amount available.