SIU, NSFAS welcome Western Cape High Court ruling

NSFAS offices in Cape Town. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

NSFAS offices in Cape Town. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 30, 2024


The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has welcomed the recent Western Cape High Court ruling which dismissed with costs an application by Ezaga Holdings, which sought to interdict the implementation of the Werksmans Attorneys report.

Ezaga Holdings is one of the service providers which was contracted to disburse funds to National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) beneficiaries.

Early this month, NSFAS administrator Freeman Nomvalo cancelled the contracts belonging to Ezaga Holdings and three other service providers following the recommendations contained in the Werksmans Attorneys report.

Other service providers affected by the cancellation were Coinvest Africa, Norraco Corporation and Tenet Technologies after it was reported that these companies were appointed irregularly.

On June 12, the High Court ruled that there was no urgency to the application brought by Ezaga Holdings, this after a review application to set aside Ezaga Holdings’ appointment as a service provider being finalised.

The order comes as the SIU successfully applied to be joined in the matter as one of the respondents alongside NSFAS.

Judge Thandazwa Ndita, in her judgment, ordered Ezaga Holdings to pay NSFAS and the SIU legal costs as well as the costs of two counsels.

Ezaga Holdings, in the court papers by the its COO, Ismail Ally, claimed that NSFAS had taken an unlawful decision to terminate the Service Level Agreement (SLA).

“The sole power to pronounce on the legal validity of the award and the SLA lies with the courts. NSFAS itself has no authority to invalidate this agreement or ignore it,” he said.

However, the court said it did not recognise the claim made by Ezaga Holdings.

“Having read the papers filed on record, and having heard the argument from the parties’ respective counsel, it is hereby ordered that the matter is struck off the record due to lack of urgency. The applicant is ordered to pay the first respondent’s costs, including two counsel.”

Reacting to the decision, the SIU and NSFAS said they welcomed the judgment.

“The SIU and NSFAS welcome the decision of the High Court, as it clears the way for the implementation of the Werksmans Attorneys’ report and the outcomes and consequence management to correct wrongdoing and further tighten the controls within the public procurement process.

“Norraco Corporation, one of the other service providers that has been disbursing allowances to NSFAS beneficiaries, was cited as a respondent in the matter. However, the company filed a counter-application stating that they agreed with Ezaga Holdings’ application. This was also dismissed with costs,” the entities said in their joint statement.