Students accuse Schlettwein of 'sabotage'

13 December 2019 | Education

The Students' Union of Namibia (SUN) has accused finance minister Calle Schlettwein of sabotage, saying he is yet to release monies to pay their tuition fees.

SUN president Kanepolo Amunime made the allegation in a media statement released ahead of yesterday's sit-ins at ministry of finance offices countrywide.

According to him, the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) has failed to channel tuition and non-tuition monies to students for 2017, 2018 and 2019.

“Over the course of the year, the Students' Union of Namibia leadership duly engaged and submitted various petitions to NSFAF, the ministry of higher education and the ministry of finance on the outstanding fees for 2017, 2018 and 2019, and nothing has been actioned hitherto,” the union said.

“Due to non-action, the situation has gotten out of hand and today we are not sure whether NSFAF will be able to fund students who will be in their first year for the 2020 academic year, as the ministry of finance continues to allocate inadequate funding to NSFAF year after year.”

The union said this was further disadvantaging previously disadvantaged students, “the students of colour who depend solely on government funding”.

“As a consequence of the above, some students are unable to view their final results, due to the ignorance of the said minister,” Amunime said.

Amunime was later asked whether the union had taken cognisance of the economic woes that are currently being experienced in the country.

“The money was allocated to NSFAF. Schlettwein is failing to avail the money to NSFAF. The man perhaps does not understand the suffering of black students… perhaps (because of) his background, he does not understand,” Amunime said.

Schlettwein dismissed the union's claims and said funding had been availed and disbursed to NSFAF.

“We have committed to disburse all the funds (N$1.13 billion) including the full amount for tuition fees to NSFAF during December. Up to today, N$938 million has been paid over to NSFAF and the remaining balance of N$200 million will be released by the end of this month. We have in addition guaranteed a loan to be taken by NSFAF of N$230 million, and with that, NSFAF is fully funded.”

NSFAF spokesperson Percy Tjahere said the fund was still waiting on money for the students, which is initially channelled through the higher education ministry.

“The money has not yet been fully disbursed. The money goes through the higher education ministry first before it comes to NSFAF,” he said.

Higher education ministry executive director Alfred Van Kent did not respond at the time of going to press.

OGONE TLHAGE

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