Home South African Nzimande gives NSFAS board three weeks to respond to him

Nzimande gives NSFAS board three weeks to respond to him

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Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Dr Blade Nzimande has given the embattled National Student Financial Aid Scheme board three weeks to submit a comprehensive report on service delivery aspects and other matters affecting it.

Minister Blade Nzimande has given the NSFAS board three weeks to submit a comprehensive report. Picture: Simone Kley

MINISTER of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Dr Blade Nzimande has given the embattled National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) board three weeks to submit a comprehensive report on service delivery aspects and other matters affecting it.

The minister, who penned this letter on Saturday (November 4), said the report must include close monitoring of every service delivery aspect.

In his letter, the minister expressed his deep discomfort over the range of irregularities, mismanagement and poor governance revealed in the Werksmans Attorneys report.

His directive comes just as the financial scheme allegedly failed to pay monthly allowances to more then 100,000 university students who are stranded due to non-payment.

This also comes on the back of a recent damning forensic report that implicated the institution’s axed CEO, Andile Nongogo, in alleged corruption, fraud and illegal tender dealing.

The investigation report by Werkmans Attorneys found Nongogo allegedly had a relationship with one of the companies appointed for the new NSFAS direct payment system.

“This must inevitably include close monitoring of the very important service delivery aspects, which include the timeous payment of student allowances, as well as the continued accreditation of student accommodation,” said Nzimande.

The minister said that given the seriousness of the allegations, his department was going through the report before making its decision.

“Given the serious and sensitive nature of the report, officials of the department are still studying the report, guided by our legal department, to be in a good stead to advise me on how best comprehensively to respond thereto,” said Nzimande.

In the letter to the board, the minister said that notwithstanding and given the urgent need to address the challenges facing the NSFAS, he had written to the NSFAS board to communicate his initial response to the report, request some information and direct the board to take certain steps immediately to avert a further descent into the abyss of the challenges.

Nzimande has instructed that the board’s investigation produce answers to the issuing of off-take agreements following recent allegations Nongogo had made in the media.

Nongogo recently implicated NSFAS chairperson Ernest Khosa in some of the wrong-doing.

Nongogo has said that while he was suspended, his electronic signature was used without his permission to issue student accommodation off-take, with 12 agreement letters being sent to potential service providers.

However, during a recent media briefing, Khosa slammed Nongogo for making the accusations.

Last week, the axed CEO approached the Labour Court in Braamfontein in a bid to get his job back.

In court papers filed last Monday, Nongogo said his employment was terminated in breach of his contract and, as a result, he wanted to be reinstated.

“Reinstatement is the only remedy that would ensure that the material provisions of my employment contract are honoured,” he said.

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