KZN government employees must 'pay back the money'
The KwaZulu-Natal government is clamping down on employees who owe millions of rands to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
About 15000 civil servants owe the underfunded scheme just over R400-million, excluding those who work in municipal departments.
Speaking at the opening day of the provincial executive council lekgotla in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu told delegates that they must take responsibility.
"Those who benefited must do the honourable thing and pay back the money because there are thousands of students who are battling under these difficult economic conditions," said Mchunu.
Mchunu called on the private sector to encourage employees to repay the scheme what they owed.
"You once enjoyed support from NSFAS and it was under certain conditions and it is now time to pay back, because we guarantee you are employed and are being paid."
Mchunu's spokesman, Ndabezinhle Sibiya, said, "After the lekgotla, Premier Mchunu will take the necessary steps to get the provincial government departments to pay back the money.
"We haven't looked at municipal workers, we will be gunning for them too."
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme increased its budget from R9.5-billion last year to R10-billion in 2016-2017. Of this amount, more than R700-million has been allocated for full bursaries in scarce and critical skills . This funding was made available through the financial aid offices at universities.
Briefing the media earlier this year, the scheme's chairman, Sizwe Nxasana, said the scheme would use the National Credit Act to pursue beneficiaries who did not want to repay their loans.
He said a decision had been taken to make repayment terms affordable because the majority of debtors came from low-income households.