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An investigation has led to the resignation of the NSFAS chairperson

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An investigation has led to the resignation of the NSFAS chairperson

An investigation has led to the resignation of the NSFAS chairperson. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) Board Chairperson, Ernest Khosa, voluntarily takes a 30-day leave of absence amid allegations of corruption. The move follows damning accusations and audio recordings released by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), suggesting kickbacks related to a lucrative tender contract.

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Allegations and Denials

Khosa, along with Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande and the South African Communist Party (SACP), is accused of receiving kickbacks in exchange for awarding service providers lucrative tenders to facilitate NSFAS Allowance payments. Khosa denies the allegations.

Board Response

The NSFAS Board expresses gratitude for Khosa’s decision, viewing it as an honorable step promoting corporate governance, transparency, and accountability. However, the Board clarifies that the leave is not an admission of guilt on Khosa’s part.

Independent Investigation Initiated

In response to the allegations, the Board appoints an independent legal firm to investigate the claims against Khosa. The firm will be announced soon, with a mandate to submit findings within 30 days. The Board emphasizes its commitment to diligence, integrity, and collaboration with stakeholders in the education sector.

OUTA Reaction

OUTA welcomes Khosa’s decision and anticipates a truly independent investigation. They reiterate calls for Minister Nzimande to follow suit or face removal. Nzimande denies all allegations and considers legal action against OUTA, a move the organization welcomes.

Background on Investigation

An investigation by Werksmans Attorneys focuses on irregularities in Bid NO. SCMN022/2021, involving service providers for the NSFAS direct payment system. The same tender led to the termination of former NSFAS CEO Andile Nongogo, ratified in court. The investigation reveals possible relationships between key individuals and conflicts of interest in service provider appointments.

Ongoing Concerns

Recordings and OUTA’s investigative report highlight corruption and mismanagement within NSFAS, prompting calls for resignations from Khosa and Minister Nzimande. The minister questions OUTA’s motives and considers legal action, further escalating the controversy.

Conclusion

Ernest Khosa, NSFAS Chairperson, takes leave amidst corruption allegations. The Board initiates an independent investigation, emphasizing transparency. OUTA welcomes the decision, while Minister Nzimande denies allegations and considers legal action.

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NSFAS News

NSFAS Board Dissolution Reasons

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NSFAS Board Dissolution Reasons

NSFAS Board Dissolution Reasons. More than a million students rely on funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). However, challenges with their funding have led to the decision by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande to dissolve the NSFAS board. This article explores the reasons behind this decision and its implications.

Check Also: ZA Student Portal

Challenges Leading to the Dissolution

Last week, Minister Nzimande decided to dissolve the NSFAS board due to its failure to ensure the financial aid scheme implemented its responsibilities effectively. The board had been unable to carry out basic responsibilities allocated to it by the Minister and the Act governing NSFAS.

NSFAS Role and Responsibilities

NSFAS provides comprehensive bursaries and student loans to deserving students enrolled in approved courses at universities and TVET colleges. This funding covers tuition and registration fees, as well as allowances for food, accommodation, and learning materials. However, recent non-payment of allowances put students at risk, prompting urgent action from the Minister.

Reasons for Dissolution

Minister Nzimande explained that the board had failed to fulfil its duties, including implementing recommendations, ensuring timely payment of student allowances, submitting reports to Parliament, managing organizational capacity issues, and addressing student concerns promptly.

Issues Identified

The dissolution was partly due to irregularities related to the appointment of service providers for direct allowance payments, as highlighted in the Werksmans report. Recommendations from the report, including terminating contracts of certain service providers, were not fully implemented by NSFAS.

Impact of Board Failure

The board’s failure to distribute student allowances caused stress for students and families and jeopardized the stability of some TVET colleges and universities. Additionally, the board’s inability to consult on guidelines for Missing Middle Funding and implement solutions further hindered progress in addressing financial aid gaps.

Reactions and Endorsements

Stakeholders, including student structures and the Parliamentary Higher Education Committee, welcomed the dissolution. The committee endorsed the Minister’s actions, citing NSFAS’s failure to disburse funds effectively and submit required reports to Parliament.

Appointment of Administrator

Following the dissolution, Minister Nzimande appointed Sithembiso Freeman Nomvalo as the new Administrator for NSFAS. Nomvalo will oversee the governance, management, and administration of NSFAS for 12 months, including developing guidelines for Missing Middle Funding.

Conclusion

The dissolution of the NSFAS board reflects the government’s commitment to ensuring effective management of student funding. The appointment of a new Administrator signals a fresh start for NSFAS, with a focus on addressing the challenges that have plagued the scheme and improving its efficiency in supporting students in need.

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