On Friday the 5th of March 2021 the Executive Mayor of Bitou Municipality Cllr Peter Lobese received an email from South Cape College requesting assistance for their Student. As the students from the collage are experiencing challenges caused by bursary funds that are not yet released by NSFAS.
As the challenge is a national problem under the scope of department of education the executive mayor decided to facilitate a meeting between college management and municipal officials so that they can have inside information on the collage crisis, to see if there are possible way of assisting the student and determine how long is this issue of bursary is going to take as according to the mayor, cllr Lobese it would be wasteful exercise if we assist students for this month while they will struggle again next month.
The meeting was held on Monday morning, 8th March in the Municipal Council Chambers. The South Cape College (Bitou Campus) management gave a presentation highlighting the crisis that the college is faced with.
The South Cape College (Bitou Campus Head) Mr. Webber gave a brief background on SCC Bitou campus and further alluded that they have enrolled more than 800 student, 600 are full-time student and approximately 200 student are doing par-time studies.
The main reasons they came to the Municipality is because of NSFAS has delayed payment to the institution and that made many student that are depending on NSFAS for accommodation, food and transport allowances to suffer as they are struggling to pay rent and some are going to their SCC student advisor’s office on daily basis to ask for assistance. The institution expected NSFAS to send the funding of the 26 of February 2021 and till to date they have not received the funds. The majority of the student from SCC are coming from the Eastern Cape and 95% of their students population depends on NSFAS. In the meantime some of the student are being assisted by their parents and some by their co-host.
The Executive Mayor also mentioned that he received several phone calls from the property owners complaining that it has been two months down the line without getting paid and they also need income as they are not working and also depending on the funds they are getting from the rent to support their families.
The college has targeted 100 students to be assisted seeing that on daily basis the students are going on their Student Support Office for assistance. Mr. Webber also highlighted that this is not only happening in Bitou campus but it is a National crisis and also noted that the NSFAS portal system is not open for registration therefore they cannot upload students to the system.
The SCC student are demanding payment and the management do not have the date for the payment. Some are speaking of having peaceful march and the management do not want things to escalate to that direction as they have seen from other campuses whereby students have started riots and burning of tires.
The Executive Mayor together with the Municipal Manager resolved that NPOs/ NGO’s that are working with the Municipality be engaged so that funds can be channeled through them so that they can accommodate and assists the students in terms of basic needs.
It was also resolved that a letter narrating everything that is happening be written by the Director Cooperate Services and must be addressed to the President and copy Minister of Higher Education Dr. Blade Ndzimande and Minister Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Ms. Nkosazana Zuma.
The Executive Mayor then delegated officials from his office (Mayor’s Office) Mr. Smuts Mana (Senior Manager: Office of the Politicians) and Ms. Mavis Punky Busakwe (Manager: Mayor’s Office) to liaise with SCC Management for any other information, which resulted to the delivering of food by local NGO on Tuesday 9 March 2021.Last published 17 March 2021