Chair, the DA-governed SRC at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, NMMU, together with the university's management, has successfully raised R9,8 million for students who would not have been able to further their studies otherwise. Of this, R4,8 million is to clear student debt and R3,2 million is to fund Bachelor of Technology, BTech, students.
The DA believes that no deserving student should be prevented from furthering their education just because they cannot afford to do so. Education and skills training are central to addressing the youth unemployment crisis. At NMMU, the DA-governed SRC, together with management, stepped in where the government continues to fail.
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme funding shortfalls mean that approximately half of financially needy students and academically deserving students have not been able to further their studies.
The government can afford to accommodate these students if they get their priorities straight. We can save more than R30 billion per annum by simply cutting corruption and considerably more by streamlining government departments.
Furthermore, NSFAS does not fund BTech students. This essentially blocks financially needy diploma students, many of them being young black South Africans, from accessing postgraduate studies.
The empty rhetoric from Minister Nzimande about a shortage of black academics is a slap in the face for the tens of thousands of talented young black South Africans who are being shut out of postgraduate studies by Minister Nzimande's own department and government.
As long as the ANC government puts patronage before the future of our young people, the struggle for tertiary education funding for our students will continue into perpetuity.
The DA will continue to fight for universal access to higher education for all deserving students.