AfriForum approaches Public Protector to investigate alleged corruption at NSFAS

The civil rights organisation AfriForum lodged a formal complaint with the Public Protector (PP) regarding allegations of corruption involving Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, and the chairperson of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), Ernest Khosa. In its complaint to the PP, AfriForum asks that these allegations of corruption, which were revealed in a report by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), be investigated.

In addition to this complaint, AfriForum submitted an application in terms of the Promotion to the Access of Information Act (PAIA) to NSFAS and requested, among other things, the records of agreements entered into between NSFAS and the four service providers who were awarded the bid for the provision of direct payments of allowances to NSFAS beneficiaries – Coinvest Africa, Tenet Technology, Ezaga Holdings, and Norraco Corporation. AfriForum also requested a copy of the contract awarded to Vision Wave. Vision Wave, of which Nzimande’s adviser, Tilson Manyoni, is the managing director, was awarded an NSFAS tender of R44 million in 2022.

Charné Mostert, Campaign Officer at AfriForum, says corruption has infiltrated almost every South African state-owned enterprise. “AfriForum will use the PP complaint and the PAIA application as appropriate mechanisms to help ensure that the culprits in these cases are held accountable. AfriForum will also investigate the matter itself to uncover the truth about this. It is unacceptable that politicians and other influential role players at state enterprises abuse their power to enrich themselves financially in a dishonest way,” explains Mostert.

“Corrupt officials must bear the consequences of their actions that affect the lives of thousands of students across the country. While chairpersons and ministers have full, fat wallets from tenders, many students only receive letters rejecting their application for financial aid from NSFAS. NSFAS has left many students waiting for student allowances to be paid out since 2023, whilst announcing an expected budget cut of 10% for 2024’s NSFAS allowances. Budget cuts will not rectify financial mismanagement. This scheme was originally set up for disadvantaged students, but at this stage, only political cadres are benefitting,” concludes Mostert.

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