WINDHOEK, 22 MAY – National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) presidential candidate and Okakara Constituency Councillor, Vetaruhe Kandoruzo has urged Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) beneficiaries not to repay their loans in cash, but rather through rendering services.
Kandorozu’s remarks come in the wake of a plea from the Namibia National Student Organisation (Nanso) to NSFAF loan recipients to repay their loans in order to make the fund sustainable and allow other poor students to benefit.
The NSFAF is caught up in leadership rows and is reportedly unable to recover at least N.dollars 1.7 billion it paid in student loans between 1997 and 2010.
The statement also comes at a time when the NSFAF is reportedly in need of at least N.dollars 12 billion over the next five years to cater for the funding needs of all qualifying students at university and technical and vocational education institutions.
Kandorozu made his remarks on Sunday during the ‘Team 100 % VK’ star rally in the capital.
“We are encouraging all students who owe NSFAF not to pay their scholarship or bursary back to the government. The students must pay back through providing services when they are offered job opportunities,” Kandorozu stated.
Quizzed on how those loans recipients who end up in the private sector would repay their loans through service, the councillor said: “Even if you work for a private company, who are your clients? These are Namibians. So whether or not you work in the government, you still serve Namibians.”
Should he assume power as Nudo president, Kandorozu vowed to advocate for free education.
“We will ask for free tertiary education for all students admitted to any tertiary institution accredited with the Ministry of Education,” he said, adding that a basic income grant should be given to every poor Namibian child and those who are unemployed.
Nanso’s view, however, is that former NSFAF beneficiaries are obliged by law to repay their loans.
“Students have an obligation to repay these loans, because existing laws say so,” said Nanso secretary general (SG) Simon Taapopi here last week.
He indicated that that those repaying these loans should do so without suffering economic hardships, while others ought to be accorded sufficient time to get employment.
Like Kandorozu, Nanso under the stewarded of Dimbulukeni Nauyoma as SG had also advocated for the non-repayment of NSFAF loans.
On their part, the NSFAF leadership has persistently called on its former beneficiaries to pay back the loans and has hired a South African company to track down defaulters.
Nudo’s elective congress takes place in Windhoek Friday and Saturday.