Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Blade Nzimande visiting NSFAS offices. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Blade Nzimande visiting NSFAS offices. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

NSFAS must account for wasted R7bn, says Solidarity

By Goitysemang Tlhabye Time of article published Feb 17, 2020

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Pretoria - The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) must account for the R7.5billion it incurred in irregular expenditure.

Solidarity’s Helping Hands Study Fund Centre is demanding transparency and accountability related to the millions of alleged incorrect payments to students over the past few years.

NSFAS's Randall Carolissen must also explain the irregular expenditure incurred in the 2018/19 financial year.

Head of Solidarity’s Helping Hands Study Fund Centre Stefan Pieterse said they had lodged a request with the court for the NSFAS public administrator to give them the information within 60 days.

Pieterse said there was no malice in their request - the incorrect and irregular NSFAS payouts were a waste of taxpayers' money.

“Our organisation assists 1400 students with their higher education fees and we are not allowed to spend a cent that is not going to those students.

“So why is NSFAS being allowed to go about with business as usual after having wasted R7.5billion of taxpayers' money. That money could have assisted an estimated 150000 students with R50000 tuition fees in 2020.”

Pieterse said they had filed an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act to demand answers. Mainly for the institution to provide a detailed account of how the R7.5billion in irregular expenditure had occurred. Also, for a progress report of the 2017 incident when R14million was wrongly transferred into a student account at the Walter Sisulu University.

The centre will also seek clarity on allegations of a screenshot of an SMS notification dated February 8, 2020, confirming that a student received R5billion, with NSFAS as reference.

“We need this information to decide if we are to proceed with either criminal or civil litigation. The fact of the matter is not enough uproar is being caused.

“The public and civil society need to stand up, especially when money meant for education is being wasted.”

Pretoria News

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