Investigation Finds No Evidence Against NSFAS Board Chair

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An investigation into allegations of corruption against key NSFAS personnel found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing. However, a former NSFAS official will face disciplinary action.


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The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has recently concluded an investigation prompted by allegations from the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), with the report being submitted by Tshisevhe Attorneys Incorporated (TGR). 

The investigation aimed to address concerns raised about former NSFAS board chair Ernest Khosa. NSFAS has announced that the investigation found no evidence to support OUTA's allegations against Khosa, who was accused of leaking board decisions to individuals connected to Coinvest, according to OUTA.

Earlier this year, OUTA released an investigation alleging that former NSFAS Board chair Ernest Khosa, along with Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande and the South African Communist Party (SACP) received kickbacks related to a lucrative NSFAS tender contract.

OUTA released leaked audio recordings to support their allegations.  In exchange for these alleged payments, service providers would be awarded lucrative tenders to facilitate NSFAS Allowance payments using the Direct Payment System.

Nzimande and Khosa both denied any suggestions that they received money for the awarding of the contract

NSFAS Administrator Freeman Nomvalo has welcomed the report and intends to announce measures to implement its recommendations. 

The report advises NSFAS to seek legal guidance in administrative law to mitigate potential risks and expedite the remaining recommendations outlined in the Werksman report. These recommendations include terminating contracts with service providers for the NSFAS direct payment system.

The NSFAS Administrator welcomed the report and the subsequent legal opinion from TGR. The Administrator will in due course announce measures to implement the recommendations.

Moreover, the report recommends reprimanding Khosa for his actions, specifically for discussing NSFAS matters without informing the board. This aspect of the report has drawn attention, especially from student representatives. 

Asive Dlanjwa, President of the South African Union of Students, expressed some confusion regarding the report's findings. While the report clears Khosa of direct wrongdoing, it suggests a reprimand for his discussions with individuals associated with companies awarded the NSFAS tender.

The investigation did not find any evidence to support the claims made by OUTA although we note however that the recommendations indicated that the chair [Khosa]... would have acted or that he should have informed the board about his conversation with service providers and which were a product of the OUTA allegations

The investigation did not find evidence supporting OUTA's allegations, but it highlighted the importance of transparency and adherence to protocol within NSFAS. 

What students want is assurance and certainty that they will receive the allowances on time every month and that there will not be issues regarding their funding, that's what they need more than anything, a sense of stability and that the scheme would not crash in any way

Dlanjwa emphasised the significance of stability within NSFAS for students, emphasising the need for assurance that allowances will be disbursed timely and without disruption.

Former NSFAS Board Chair Khosa resigned in April 2024, shortly before Minister Nzimande dismissed the entire NSFAS board. 

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NSFAS offering loans

Finally, in 2024 NSFAS began offering funding for missing middle students. However, the NSFAS application period was very short and only a few applicants managed to apply.

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