Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister, Blade Nzimande, has slammed DA comments that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme was planning to write-off R1,9bn in student loans.
Addressing the media, Nzimande also noted that his department and National Treasury would this week commence the procurement process for laptops for university students and TVET colleges.
“This is factually incorrect and irresponsible as clearly pointed out by the NSFAS Administrator, Dr Randall Carollisen, who clearly stated that the R1.96bn referred to by Prof Bozzoli is actually irregular expenditure that arose when the previous board applied unspent historic debt from 2016 and 2017 to fund NSFAS qualifying students in 2018,” he said.
“This was a legitimate diversion of funds, however, due processes were not followed to get approval from National Treasury. As a result, the AG (Auditor-General) raised it as irregular expenditure,” he added.
Nzimande said by the end of the week his department would be commencing with the process of buying laptops for students. He said given the “huge amount” of money involved, running into billions of rand, it was proper for government to follow a proper process in order to account for the money.
He said all staff and learners- about two million in total- would be required to register for HealthCheck, a tool that will be used to screen them for COVID-19 before entering campuses
“The tool allows for early detection, mapping and management of COVID-19 cases within higher education institutions and feeds into the national department of health tracking and tracing system.