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Ernest Khosa Takes a Leave of Absence From the NSFAS Board

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Ernest Khosa Takes a Leave of Absence From the NSFAS Board

Ernest Khosa Takes a Leave of Absence From the NSFAS Board. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) made an announcement on Wednesday, revealing that its board chairperson, Ernest Khosa, has chosen to take a voluntary leave of absence, following a special meeting of the NSFAS Board.

Leave of Absence Amidst Allegations

The leave of absence, lasting 30 days, was initiated to address allegations against Khosa, as detailed in recordings distributed by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA). The accusations involve purportedly defrauding NSFAS through kickbacks from service providers, a claim also directed at Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Professor Blade Nzimande.

Chairperson’s Response and Concerns

Khosa, denying any personal financial gratification or involvement in facilitating such for the Minister or the South African Communist Party (SACP), expressed concerns about threats to his life and his family’s safety.

Board’s Response and Notification to Minister

The NSFAS Board notified the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation about Khosa’s leave of absence, and, in accordance with the NSFAS Act, the Minister will appoint an acting board chairperson during this period.

Commitment to Governance and Transparency

The NSFAS Board commended Khosa for his “honorable, brave, and responsible decision” to take leave, emphasizing that it should not be viewed as an admission of guilt. The board reaffirmed its commitment to good corporate governance, transparency, and accountability.

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Independent Investigation Initiated

Simultaneously, the board decided to engage an independent legal firm to investigate the allegations against Khosa. The yet-to-be-announced legal firm is expected to present its findings within 30 days.

Assurance of Diligence and Integrity

The board assured the public that the investigation would be conducted with diligence and integrity, separating the process from any prejudgment of guilt.

Continuity and Future Focus

While ensuring the smooth commencement of the 2024 academic year, NSFAS continues its application process, with over 900,000 applications received. The board also disclosed plans to appoint a new chief executive officer and expressed gratitude to Mr. Khosa’s family for their support during this challenging period.

Conclusion

As NSFAS navigates the challenges posed by the leave of its board chairperson, the organization remains steadfast in its commitment to transparency, accountability, and the seamless functioning of its critical financial aid processes. The initiation of an independent investigation underscores the dedication to resolve allegations with diligence and integrity, providing assurance to all stakeholders in the education sector.

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