The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, will be overseeing an investigation into corrupt activities at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) starting at the end of May.
Last year, NSFAS provided student loans and bursaries to the amount of R8.3 billion. The scheme will receive R4.94 billion for university study loans, about R2.2 billion for technical and vocational training college bursaries and close to R149 million for administration for the 2015 -16 financial year.
In his department’s budget vote speech in Parliament on Thursday, the Minister was quoted as saying:
We’ve used a certain criteria to identify some of the institutions we want to prioritise and we are hoping that the institutions selected will give us maximum possible information about the nature and extent of the problem. Sadly we have found evidence of corruption in the application of NSFAS loans and bursaries within the system. By the end of May 2015, a forensic investigation will have commenced to determine the depth of corrupt practices in the administration of NSFAS.— Minister Blade Nzimande
702/ CapeTalk’s Redi Tlhabi spoke to Kagisho Mamabolo, National Spokesperson for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
Mamabolo said that NSFAS welcomes the forensic investigations by the Minister but criticized the manner in which the media has captured the story in terms of what the forensic investigation is set to do. He further said that he expected the media to do a follow up on the story to ensure that the terms of reference in which the allegation are made are clearly comprehended.
According to Mamabolo, the terms of reference was to investigate allegations of fraud and corruption in the allocation of NSFAS financial aid to students at higher education institutions and TVET colleges.
The purpose of the investigation is to determine whether or not fraudulent activities does exist and, if it does exist, to determine the extent of the fraud and the corruption in the system and to identify students and individuals who have defrauded the system. After that recommendations would be made to address the shortcomings and the weaknesses identified so if the journalists could do a little bit of work and look at what the terms of reference are in terms of this forensic investigations they would learn that out of the eleven terms of reference only one talks about the shortcomings of NSFAS.
There is a lot of corruption at the institutions; officials are working with the students to defraud the system
Listen to the full interview below: