Nzimande appoints Freeman Nomvalo as NSFAS administrator

Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation Blade Nzimande has appointed former head of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, Freeman Nomvalo, as the administrator for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

The appointment was published in the Government Gazette and signed by Nzimande on Thursday.

Dissolved NSFAS board, put entity under administration

Nzimande announced on Thursday evening that he had dissolved the NSFAS board and placed the entity under administration with immediate effect. He said the legal effects would be communicated on Friday in the gazette.

Nomvalo is the former accountant general at the National Treasury. He will take over the governance, management, and administration of NSFAS for a period of two years.

In the gazette, Nzimande said he raised serious concerns to the board. These were about the failure of NSFAS to effectively confirm funding for students and disburse funding timeously to students.

NSFAS funds 1.2 million students from poor backgrounds. These are in technical vocational education and training (TVET) colleges and universities. 

Unprecedented number of challenges

“The NSFAS has been embroiled in an unprecedented number of challenges over recent months. In response to these challenges, the minister engaged the board on several occasions on various solutions. …These include a turnaround strategy, which has not been achieved within agreed timelines,” reads the gazette.

He said that despite several engagements with the board, the entity continues to face serious challenges. These are in its business processes, IT systems, capacity, policies, and controls.

Negative impact on funding of poor students

“Should these matters not be addressed urgently, the challenges facing the entity will continue to negatively impact on the effective implementation of government funding for poor and working-class students to enable them to access higher education and training, and succeed in their studies,” writes Nzimande in the gazette.

Nzimande said failures and delays at the entity have had a serious effect on undermining its effective functioning in carrying out its core mandate.

Nomvalo may appoint the necessary technical expertise to provide support during the period of administration. This in consultation with the department.

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