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NSFAS Investigation Prepares OUTA for Legal Action

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NSFAS Investigation Prepares OUTA for Legal Action

NSFAS Investigation Prepares OUTA for Legal Action. The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has expressed its preparedness to face any legal action initiated by Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande. This comes in response to an investigation released by OUTA, suggesting that the minister received kickbacks related to the awarding of a National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) contract.

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Minister Nzimande Dispute and Defiance

Minister Nzimande, addressing the media, contested the claims made by OUTA and denied any involvement in receiving money connected to the NSFAS contract. The investigative report, accompanied by leaked recordings, implicated Nzimande, NSFAS Board Chairperson Earnest Khosa, and the South African Communist Party (SACP) in alleged kickback dealings.

Calls for Resignation

Following the release of OUTA’s investigation, calls were made for the resignation of Minister Nzimande and Board Chairperson Khosa. However, Minister Nzimande remained defiant, stating that he sees no reason to resign and accusing OUTA of colluding with disgruntled service providers.

OUTA Response to Minister Accusations

OUTA CEO Wayne Duvenage refuted the minister’s claims, expressing exception to the suggestion that the organization is collaborating with disgruntled service providers. OUTA clarified its commitment to impartial investigations and emphasized that its information is sourced from whistleblowers aiming to expose corruption within the Department of Higher Education.

Allegations of Elitism

Minister Nzimande criticized OUTA, accusing the organization of serving the interests of the elite and neglecting the concerns of ordinary citizens, particularly poor Black South Africans. OUTA rejected these claims, asserting that its mission is to combat waste and corruption in the public sector for the benefit of all citizens, especially the most vulnerable.

Criminal Charges and Actions Taken

OUTA confirmed the filing of criminal charges against Minister Nzimande, Earnest Khosa, Thula Ntumba, directors of Coinvest, and Coinvest Africa for corruption and bribery under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (No. 12 of 2004). The organization pledged to share the investigation findings and recordings with law enforcement agencies, higher education stakeholders, and oversight bodies.

Call for Resignation and Further Actions

OUTA reiterated its call for the resignation of Minister Nzimande and Khosa, urging President Ramaphosa to take decisive action if they refuse to step down. The organization intends to share its report with various authorities, including the Auditor-General, the Public Protector, and the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, seeking accountability and oversight.

Conclusion

OUTA stands firm against Nzimande’s denial of kickbacks, defending its commitment to exposing corruption. Criminal charges filed as OUTA urges resignations and calls for President Ramaphosa’s intervention.

 

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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.

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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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