Picture: THINKSTOCK
Picture: THINKSTOCK

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has again reiterated that the government will provide the struggling National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) with R4.5bn.

Mr Zuma was speaking at the African National Congress's (ANC's) anniversary celebrations at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on Saturday.

Mr Zuma initially announced the funding decision in December following the "fees must fall" protests that rocked SA late last year.

The protests saw students taking to the streets, boycotting lectures and attempting to storm into the Union Buildings as they demanded access to quality education.

Adding to their frustrations was the NSFAS's inability to deal with the high number of students who required financial aid, resulting in some of them not being able to access higher education.

The president's statement comes as universities across the country begin their registration processes.

Students have threatened to disrupt registration should their calls for fees to be cut fall on deaf ears.

"The youth of 2015 have demonstrated that they can be agents of positive social change," said Mr Zuma.

He said the government has heard their concerns and has reprioritised almost R2.6bn to ensure that deserving students don't have to stop their studies because of outstanding fees.

The president also said that a further R2bn was allocated for the 2016-17 financial year to ensure that those students, still in the university system were given the financial support needed to complete their studies.

"In total the government is committing an additional amount of more than R4.5bn to NSFAS for the 2016-17 financial year," he said.

He reminded supporters that there would be no university fee increase for 2016, prompting an excited cheer from them.

The president also reminded universities and the private sector to work together with the government in finding solutions to the problem of high fees.