Department Of Higher Education Appoints New NSFAS Chair



Leadership changes is on the agenda at NSFAS. A new appointment confirmed by Mr Nzimande is set to play a critical role in the direction taken by the financial aid scheme. 



Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande has confirmed the appointment of Professor Lourens Van Staden as acting Chairperson of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) with immediate effect. 

Van Standen enters his post in a busy period for NSFAS. His first order of duty will be to prioritise the employment of a new CEO and fully implement the Werksmans report that was commissioned by NSFAS. 

This must all be done while the financial aid scheme processes 2024 NSFAS bursary applications and the commencement of the 2024 academic year. 

Nzimande held a briefing session with Van Staden to emphasise the importance of NSFAS to prioritise readiness for the beginning of the 2024 academic year.

NSFAS funds more than a million students enrolled in approved programmes at Universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges in South Africa. More students will soon benefit from the bursary scheme as they are currently accepting 2024 applications. 

Why Van Staden Was Appointed

Nzimande’s announcement comes just days after NSFAS Board Chairperson Ernest Khosa voluntarily tabled a notice of 30 days leave of absence. Khosa explained that the leave of absence would allow the organisation to investigate claims made against him and Minister Nzimande. 

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) alleges that Khosa along with Nzimande received kickbacks for the awarding of a lucrative tender. 

OUTA released voice recordings from two meetings between NSFAS Board Chairperson Ernest Khosa and a service provider representative. The recording suggests that in exchange for these payments, the service providers would be awarded lucrative tenders to pay NSFAS allowances to qualify students and receive protection.

Nzimande has denied any wrongdoing concerning allegations made by OUTA and said he is considering taking legal action against OUTA

The Werksmans Report

The Werksmans Report was an investigation commissioned by NSFAS to investigate to focus on irregularities related to Bid NO. SCMN022/2021, which involved the appointment of service providers for direct allowance payments. 

The report indicated that former NSFAS CEO Andile Nongogo may have had relationships with service providers who were ultimately awarded that lucrative contract. 

It was also revealed that Nongogo actively participated in presenting proposals by service providers to the Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC). Furthermore, it established that he breached NSFAS's public procurement processes and the responsibilities he was employed to safeguard and uphold. As a consequence, he has been terminated from his position.

The report recommended that  NSFAS should proceed with the termination of service provider contracts. It also recommended that NSFAS subject all Staff members associated with wrongdoing, as mentioned in the report to a disciplinary enquiry. 

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