NSFAS Issues Media Release on UNISA Allowances

NSFAS Issues Media Release on UNISA Allowances

On 6th March 2019, NSFAS issued a media release addressing their concern regarding the non-payment of student allowances to students from Unisa.


In recent weeks, reports have been coming out from the University of South Africa (Unisa) regarding the non-payment of student allowances that were to be received by NSFAS recipients. It has since been made known by NSFAS that students were in fact supposed to have received their allowance up to this point as on the 6th February 2019, NSFAS issued an amount of R247 078 688.97 to Unisa that was to be distributed to the students.


Kagisho-Mamabolo-Twitter-6-Mar-19Kagisho Mamabolo, NSFAS spokesperson, has pointed out that more than R3 billion in student funding were advanced to Unisa and 25 other universities (and in return, signing a Memorandum of Understanding) in the hopes of funding qualifying students to start with their studies when the academic year begins, with direct payments to be made to the student’s account of their choice.



Unisa have, in turn, responded to this by beginning with the distribution of NSFAS allowances via the Intellimali system to qualifying Unisa students on 6th March 2019. .


Unisa students would have received SMSs, urging them to head to their nearest Unisa Regional Centre to collect their Intellimali cards, with Intellimali confirming that over the next few days after collecting their cards, students will receive their PIN numbers to allow access to their NSFAS allowances.


Students can activate the Intellimali card via one of the following processes:

  • Downloading the app on Google Play and follow the instructions to activate your card.
  • Activating your card online by visiting the Intellimali website; and
  • Activate your card at any merchant, such as bookshops, Checkers USave or Shoprite (for cash withdrawals).

Once activated, the Intellimali card can be used at selected retailers as it were a debit card. Students will then be able to access their funds and use it responsibly towards living expenses (accommodation, food, transport etc) and learning materials as well as apply their funding towards paying the first installment of their tuition fee.

Student Responsibility

Students are urged to not misuse their funding as this would teach responsibility towards whatever consequences may follow. The South African Book Sellers’ Association (Saba) has noticed a decrease in textbook sales from booksellers such as Van Schaik ever since it was announced that NSFAS would adopt a new payment system.  A small minority of NSFAS funded students have been caught out misusing their funds, spending their funds on items other than textbooks, which is necessary for students to study effectively.

A similar adoption system took place in Botswana and eSwatini in August 2017 eventually lead to a decline in textbook sales of 80% and 94% respectively, so once again students are urged to act responsibly in how to utilize their money effectively.

Last Updated: 8th March 2019