Nzimande dissolves board and puts NSFAS under administration

Higher Education, Science and Innovation minister Blade Nzimande has announced that he has dissolved the board of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) with immediate effect and placed the funding body under administration.

Decision to be gazetted

In a brief statement by the Department of Higher Education Science and Technology, Nzimande said he will communicate the legal effect of this decision through the Government Gazette on Friday.

“As part of the set of interventions meant to improve the organisational efficiency of  NSFAS and to ensure it remains focused on its mandate, earlier today the minister met the NSFAS board,” the statement said.

“The purpose of the meeting was to communicate the minister’s decision to dissolve the NSFAS board, with immediate effect and place the institution under administration.” 

Nzimande, according to the statement, will convene a media briefing to explain the rationale for dissolving the NSFAS board and the further steps arising from this decision.

Corruption scandals

NSFAS has been plagued by a number of corruption scandals, which have also had a direct impact on the delivery of services to 1.2-million students funded by the scheme.

Last year the contracts of four direct payment providers, appointed to disburse student allowances, were cancelled after a report by independent law firm Werksmans Attorneys and advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC found irregularities in the awarding of the contracts.

The contracts to disburse student allowances were awarded to eZaga, Noracco, Coinvest and Tenet Tech.

The report also found that former CEO of NSFAS Andile Nongogo had direct relations with some of the service providers and has since been fired from his position.

In January NSFAS board chairperson Ernest Khosa took special leave amid allegations that he and Nzimande were paid millions of rands in kickback by service providers contracted by the funding scheme.

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