DA leader John Steenhuisen has spoken out about the alleged NSFAS corruption that was exposed by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa).
After a series of leaked recordings were made public by Outa, Steenhuisen delves into details of the alleged criminal cartel operating inside the Department of Higher Education and Training and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
The recordings reveal how service providers allegedly paid millions of rand in kickbacks to Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande and NSFAS chairperson Ernest Khosa, as well as at least R1 million to the South African Communist Party (SACP).
According to Outa, this was done in exchange for service provider protection and bids.
Steenhuisen raised concerns about students working hard to try to rise above hardship in order to build a better future for themselves and our country.
“Today, you will see pictures of ANC leaders eating cake and popping champagne. With every bite they take and every sip they savour, the ANC celebrates the suffering of the people. The tentacles of corruption that feed the ANC have now identified a new target in South Africa: students. While the youth of this country struggle against the odds to try to build a better future, the ANC is stealing their dreams.
“Just last week, a series of leaked recordings released by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse revealed the details of a criminal cartel operating inside the Department of Higher Education and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme known as NSFAS,” he said in a video widely shared across different media platforms.
“The recordings reveal service providers that were rewarded multi-million-rand tenders to administer direct payments to students allegedly paid kickbacks to the chairperson of NSFAS and South African minister of higher education, Blade Nzimande, and to the South African Communist Party.
“According to Outa, this was done in return for tenders and protection for service providers. These revelations demonstrate that nothing is sacred to the ANC government. And instead of supporting our students who are working hard to try to rise above hardship in order to build a better future for themselves and our country, the ANC sees another opportunity to loot.”
In his defence, Nzimande clarified that the voice in Outa’s recordings, in which suppliers and Khosa allegedly discussed endemic cheating in the higher education contract system, was not his own.
“I have no fear whatsoever about my own integrity.
It’s not my voice that’s there. If you think that is my voice, they are wrong,” he said.
He insisted he would not resign and has rubbished the reports by Outa suggesting he’s linked to Khosa and others in the corruption of tender procurement for higher education.
Nzimande said he would meet with the NSFAS board on Wednesday.
The organisation has noted that Nzimande indicated possible legal action on the leaked NSFAS recordings.
“We will defend any legal action taken against us in this regard, as we do not disseminate reports that we cannot substantiate.”
The DA revealed it would be taking legal action to protect students from the alleged ANC looting.
“The DA’s action includes criminal charges against Minister Blade Nzimande and declaring the NSFAS board delinquent,” said the party on social media platforms.