Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

OUTA Urges Further Investigations Into NSFAS Board Chair

Following allegations raised by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has received a report from Tshisevhe Attorneys Incorporated (TGR), prompting calls for deeper scrutiny into the actions of the NSFAS board chair.

NSFAS Under Scrutiny

NSFAS, responsible for disbursing bursaries and student loans to eligible learners, found itself under scrutiny after OUTA’s investigation suggested impropriety. It alleged that former NSFAS board chair, Ernest Khosa, divulged confidential board decisions, and the ex-CEO engaged in dubious contract awards.

Khosa’s Response and Departure

Mr. Khosa refuted the allegations but took a leave of absence for an investigation, eventually resigning before the board’s dismissal by the Minister. NSFAS’s subsequent investigation found no evidence to support OUTA’s claims against Khosa. However, it did recommend disciplinary action against him for breaching confidentiality protocols.

TGR’s Recommendations

Tshisevhe Attorneys Incorporated suggested reprimanding Khosa for discussing confidential matters with certain individuals and failing to inform the board about these discussions.

OUTA’s Call for Investigation

OUTA’s Rudie Heyneke called for a comprehensive investigation into the individuals involved in the recorded conversations, insisting on the authenticity of the recordings.

Challenges with Allowance Payments

Additionally, OUTA highlighted challenges with allowance payments, attributing some to the actions of former CEO Andile Nongogo, who canceled a tender affecting allowance payments to students. The subsequent awarding of the tender to fintech service providers raised concerns, especially regarding conflict of interest, ultimately leading to Nongogo’s dismissal.

Nomvalo’s Response

Freeman Nomvalo, NSFAS Administrator, acknowledged the report’s findings but emphasized the need to address NSFAS’s broader challenges. Despite the controversies, Nomvalo is focused on revitalizing NSFAS’s operations.

Student Impacts and Contract Terminations

Amidst these developments, several NSFAS-funded students face eviction threats due to unpaid accommodation allowances, exacerbating existing payment challenges. Tshisevhe Attorneys further recommended concluding the termination of service provider contracts, a matter that contributed to the recent dismissal of the NSFAS board by Minister Blade Nzimande.

The call for thorough investigations underscores the importance of transparency and accountability within NSFAS, vital for restoring trust and ensuring effective student support mechanisms.

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