The four controversial fintech companies – Tenet Technology, eZaga Holdings, Noracco Corporation and Coinvest Africa – will continue with direct disbursement of billions of National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) student allowances this year.
This was confirmed by acting CEO Masile Ramorwesi on Thursday, stating that the entity could not provide a time frame on when the contracts with the companies would be terminated.
“The termination of the contracts of service providers is a commitment that the board is still looking to undertake. It will be affected, but we must understand that this is a process that must also be presented before the courts.
“Only then can termination be officiated.
“The board has received legal advice on how to approach this. As we are speaking, the four service providers are still contracted to NSFAS. The board has taken a resolution that until the termination, the service providers will continue to effect the disbursement to students,” said Ramorwesi.
He was speaking during a monitoring visit by Deputy Minister of Higher Education Buti Manamela regarding progress ahead of classes resuming at universities.
“Students and parents have been concerned about waiting for the evaluation process and the academic year will start soon. NSFAS had to update me about their plans to ensure that the process is speeded up.
“I understand that NSFAS has now procured additional capacity in order to deal with specific cases and set deadlines that all students who have received firm responses from universities are responded to.
“Most of the students should have known their responses by now, but circumstances out of NSFAS control led to the delays, including university and matric results,” he said.
For this academic year, more than 1.8 million applications have been received.
These include first-time students and 1 184 appeals.
More than 900 000 students have been provisionally funded and 30 011 students were awaiting the evaluation process as of Wednesday, said Ramorwesi.
The accreditation process for accommodation was also still ongoing, with 72 100 beds registered. Of these, 47 000 had received accreditation and 25 000 were still waiting to be accredited.
Meanwhile, as Ernest Khosa’s 30-day leave of absence draws to a close, his attorneys have requested the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) to retract its report on leaked voice recordings that allegedly implicate him in corruption.
The NSFAS board chairperson took the leave to allow for an investigation by the entity into the matter.
The board has yet to publicly state which independent legal firm will probe the veracity of the allegations against Khosa and submit its findings within 30 days of its appointment.
According to Outa, the letter received last Friday demands the retraction of the report and removing it from the website and all social media platforms.
The letter stated that “No effort was made to afford him (Khosa) an opportunity to comment on the findings” and Khosa should have been afforded a “reasonable opportunity” and furnish Outa with “countervailing information and/or evidence to disprove the findings made about him”.
However, Outa’s executive director of accountability division, Stefanie Fick, believes there was no duty on the civil activist organisation to approach the government, a private or state-owned entity or an individual before publishing the report.
“We also shared the report and recordings with law enforcement authorities, since it’s their duty to conduct a fair criminal investigation into the tender processes at NSFAS,” said Fick.