Seeking to comfort concerned applicants, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) said that an ongoing strike by some of its staff this week will not hinder applications for 2020.

A statement released by the institution confirmed that the 2020 application cycle would not be affected since applications were submitted online and that “required business continuity and contingency plans are in place to manage the impact” of the strike.

Staff affiliated to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) went on strike on Monday (October 28). The union’s list of demands include payment of R12,500 performance bonuses, the absorption of temporary staff and the introduction of a new pension fund scheme. The NSFAS said that it was unable to pay bonuses as it had not been allocated funds for bonuses for this financial year. It would also apply a “no work no, pay rule”.

Nehawu as well as the Democratic Alliance (DA) are also questioning why NSFAS had failed to produce audited annual reports to the auditor-general or parliament. Nehawu have accused NSFAS of “isolating and victimising their members who have been at the forefront of exposing corruption emanating from the lack of an accounting system and an IT system [Sbux] which is intended to disburse funds to students,” according to Nehawu Western Cape secretary Eric Kweleta. Earlier this month, three NSFAS employees were arrested for fraud after they were found diverting student allowances to their personal accounts – Read more on the Sowetan Live site