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Mounting Pressure on Authorities to Address NSFAS Funding Issues

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Mounting Pressure on Authorities to Address NSFAS Funding Issues

Mounting Pressure on Authorities to Address NSFAS Funding Issues. Amidst an unfolding investigation initiated by the National Student Aid Financial Scheme (NSFAS), the call for accountability is growing stronger among lawmakers. The NSFAS board chairperson, Ernest Khoza, has taken action by appointing a law firm and legal experts to delve into allegations of irregularities surrounding CEO Andile Nongogo. Check Your Nsfas Application Status Now

Concerns over Fund Administration

Dr. Bernard Koma, an expert in governance matters, has highlighted the issue of “poor administration” of the nearly R50 billion fund. This concern resonates with citizens and students seeking education support. Koma advocates for a thorough overhaul of the current administration, emphasizing alignment with the fund’s objectives.

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Silence of Minister Raises Worries

Koma has expressed unease about the apparent silence of the Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, regarding the NSFAS matter and its implications for students. He emphasizes that without Nzimande’s intervention, the ongoing problems surrounding the fund are unlikely to find resolution.

Investigation into Alleged Tender Irregularities

A legal investigation into alleged tender irregularities concerning the appointment of four service providers to disburse student allowances has been initiated. The contract, estimated at over R1.5 billion, was awarded to Norraco Corporation, Coinvest Africa, Tenet Technology, and Ezaga Holdings. Leaked audio recordings have revealed the CEO’s involvement in bid meetings, contrary to their observer role.

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Public Protector’s Separate Probe

The Public Protector’s Office has confirmed a separate investigation following a complaint lodged by William Sezoe of the DA Students Organisation. The focus is on the procurement process of the appointed service providers. Any findings of irregularities will be communicated to relevant financial authorities.

Pressure for Resolution and Accountability

Universities South Africa (Usaf) has expressed deep concerns over the turmoil caused by NSFAS funding challenges. The organization calls for swift resolution, highlighting the disruption caused to the higher education sector. The decision to directly disburse student allowances is criticized for lacking adequate testing and posing risks of incorrect payments.

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Challenges with Accommodation and Debt

The decision to cap accommodation funding has resulted in discrepancies between multi-year contracts and NSFAS’s payment limits. This has led to accumulating student debt and potential eviction risks. Usaf emphasizes the urgent need for Minister Nzimande’s intervention to address these issues and prevent students from being blocked from registration in 2024.

Union Cooperation in Investigation

The National Education and Health Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has expressed readiness to cooperate with investigations into NSFAS supply chain matters. The union is committed to providing evidence to support the ongoing probe.

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