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DA calls for further investigations into NSFAS corrupt contracts after CEO’s axing

Published Oct 25, 2023


The DA has called for an investigation into the shenanigans at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

This comes amid reports that the suspended CEO of NSFAS has been axed over irregular IT and student payment contracts.

On Tuesday, board chairperson, Ernest Khosa, informed Parliament’s finance watchdog Scopa, about the axing during a meeting on the audits and various Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigations.

Khosa said Nongogo had since been fired over the scandal following the failed R40 billion payment system.

“Just last night, the board of NSFAS took a decision to terminate the contract of the CEO, on the basis and grounds of breach of our policies and breach of trust.”

Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande said the NSFAS’s woes were due to a “massive shift” that changed a loan to a bursary and increased the threshold.

DA spokesperson on higher education Chantel King said that while the DA welcomed the NSFAS board’s decision to fire Nongogo, it was clear that much “opacity remains regarding the dodgy awarding of the contracts to four direct payment service providers”.

King said the DA would request the NSFAS board’s urgent appearance before the parliamentary portfolio committee on higher education.

“While NSFAS board chairperson Ernest Khosa announced that the contracts of all four service providers were cancelled last week, Tenet Technologies CEO Ryan Passmore has refuted this claim and threatened to sue the state should his contact be cancelled.

“The portfolio committee needs to be availed regarding the particulars of the contract cancellations, on how NSFAS will mitigate the impact on students, as well as the outcomes of the disciplinary hearings against the other implicated staff members,“ King said.

Scopa also received an update from Nzimande on the National Skills Fund and NSFAS investigations.

Nzimande and the NSFAS board and management told Scopa about delays in compiling annual financial statements.

The SIU said it had investigated serious maladministration in connection with the affairs of the NSFAS and improper or illegal conduct by officials, while other investigations also identified flaws and weaknesses related to the IT systems.