DA wants Nzimande, SACP probed for ‘receiving kickbacks’

The DA plans to lay criminal charges against Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande.

The party also plans to brief its legal team to declare the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) board delinquent.

This is according to DA leader John Steenhuisen, who was speaking during a virtual address.

The DA’s intention to lay criminal charges against Nzimande comes in the wake of a series of leaked audio recordings released by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) alleging details of a criminal cartel operating inside the Department of Higher Education and Training and NSFAS.

The recordings allege that service providers that were awarded multimillion-rand tenders to administer direct payments to students allegedly paid kickbacks to NSFAS board chairperson Ernest Khosa, Nzimande and the SACP.

Outa has claimed that this was done in return for tenders and protection of service providers.

Werksmans report

Steenhuisen said the DA will write to President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to demand that the scope of the SIU’s investigation into NSFAS be broadened to include the alleged kickbacks to Nzimande and the SACP. 

The party will also submit a request under the Promotion of Access to Information Act to obtain a copy of the Werksmans report into the awarding of the direct payment tenders.

“Finally, we are preparing criminal charges against Nzimande and [we are] briefing our legal team to declare the NSFAS board delinquent over the corrupt and irrational direct payment and accommodation tenders,” said Steenhuisen.

“This legal action is in keeping with the findings of the state capture commission, which recommended that it should become standard practice to declare board members involved in capture and corruption as delinquent.

“The DA is taking these steps because, unlike the ANC, we care. We care about disadvantaged students who are fighting to rise above challenges to obtain education.”

‘Allegations are false’

In a statement released last week, NSFAS spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi denied allegations that Khosa received kickbacks.

“The chairperson of the NSFAS board, Ernest Khosa, strongly dismisses with contempt this voice recording and insinuation that he has received money meant for him, minister Nzimande, the SA Communist Party and other parties,” said Mnisi.

Nzimande will address members of the media on Monday afternoon regarding Outa’s allegations and related governance issues at NSFAS.

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