NSFSAS board chairperson Ernest Khosa has refuted the mischievous allegations involving a potential R1 million donation by the spouse of a director of a company contracted by NSFAS to the SACP conference.
These claims have led to a call by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) for the resignations of both Blade Nzimande, the Minister of Higher Education and Khosa. The Star secured an exclusive interview with Khosa, who vehemently denies the allegations and condemns the purported recordings.
Khosa's stance is one of strong dismissal. He categorically denies any prior acquaintance with the service providers implicated in the controversy before the release of the Werksmans Attorneys report. “These allegations are much ado about nothing,” Khosa stated emphatically.
He described the recording as highly manipulated, choreographed to align with Outa's narrative and its questionable sources.
“I deny having ever met the owners of any direct payment service providers before the release of the Werksmans report," said Khosa. He expressed surprise at later discovering he was conversing with individuals directly linked to the alleged criminal NSFAS activities.
He highlighted the Werksmans report, which he believes should be the focal point of the country. “Its findings and recommendations are unchallenged and are currently being implemented,” Khosa said.
He argues that the recordings, whose authenticity has not yet been confirmed, are being misused to detract from the critical revelations of the Werksmans/Ngqukaitobi report. This report, according to Khosa, pinpoints the core issues within NSFAS and outlines the steps needed for resolution.
Khosa further accused Outa of harbouring ulterior motives, particularly concerning student accommodation. He believes that Outa's actions could be interpreted as an attempt to maintain the status quo in the ownership of student accommodation, at the expense of including black business people. "This year, NSFAS is piloting a new policy to diversify the ownership of student accommodation, and this seems to have triggered these attacks," he said.
Khosa views these developments as a proxy battle over ownership, lamenting the impact on impoverished students caught in the middle.
One other startling claim in the recordings is that the NSFAS board was supposed to “delay the Werkmans investigation to three months”, however, the investigation was concluded swiftly within two months, and the Werkmans report had adverse findings against the service providers. This contradiction is glaring in the recordings, against what sufficed in reality.
In his concluding remarks, Khosa questioned Outa’s integrity and motives. "Their double standards are apparent in their recent collaboration with individuals they themselves reported as illegal appointees for direct payments," he stated. He expressed concern about Outa's role in potentially plunging the higher education sector into crisis at the start of the academic year.
“NSFAS will not be deterred by these manoeuvrings and will proceed to implement its policies of transforming student accommodation in South Africa to include all the racial groups,” emphasised Khosa.