NSFAS and SASSA might face extinction if ANC is removed from power – Ramaphosa

President Ramaphosa, addressing an ANC gathering in Mbombela, sounded a cautionary note, stating that crucial initiatives like NSFAS and SASSA might face extinction if the ANC is removed from power in the upcoming elections.

The president’s remarks were delivered during the celebration of the ANC’s 112th birthday, setting the stage for the party’s 2024 address.

Election Season Onset and Perceived Electoral Warning

The President’s statement serves as the initiation of the 2024 electioneering season and carries a potential interpretation as a subtle threat to the electorate: a continuation of ANC support is synonymous with the preservation of NSFAS and SASSA.

Concerns Over Timing Amid Corruption Allegations

However, the timing of the warning raises concerns, particularly in the context of corruption allegations involving Blade Nzimande and NSFAS.

OUTA claims to possess incriminating recordings linking service providers to kickbacks associated with lucrative tenders. Despite these allegations, around 1.9 million students are reliant on securing financial aid, underscoring the urgency of addressing any irregularities.

Social Grants and Economic Disparities

As highlighted previously, approximately 19 million South Africans live below the poverty line, receiving grants that have not kept pace with annual inflation since 1994.

During the same period, salaries for government officials have quadrupled, positioning South African civil servants among the world’s best-paid.

Political Strategy to Appeal to the Poor

President Ramaphosa’s warning, suggesting the potential disappearance of schemes like NSFAS and SASSA with an ANC departure, appears to be a strategic move to appeal to the economically vulnerable population.

Emphasizing the ANC’s commitment to 18 million grant recipients and an additional 10 million receiving R350 grants, the President aligns these policies as pro-poor.

Alternative Approaches by Opposition Parties

Contrary to the implied threat, opposition parties such as the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have signaled a commitment to social grants but advocate for more effective and transparent implementation.

DA leader John Steenhuisen proposes redirecting expenditure to elevate social grant amounts above the poverty line, recognizing the insufficiency of current grant levels for basic survival.