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Legal Firm Advises NSFAS Board Amid Chair Leave

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Legal Firm Advises NSFAS Board Amid Chair Leave

Legal Firm Advises NSFAS Board Amid Chair Leave. In a recent development within the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), the board has encountered challenges as its chairperson, Sizwe Nxasana, took a notice of 30 days leave of absence.

This decision came in light of allegations raised against Nxasana by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), prompting the need for swift action from the NSFAS board to address the situation.

Proactive Measures To Ensure Continuity

Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande emphasized the board’s proactive stance in handling the situation. He stated that the board swiftly reallocated existing members to fill the vacancies left by Nxasana, ensuring continuity in leadership and preventing any void in governance.

Appointment Of Acting Chairperson

In the absence of Nxasana, Professor Lourens van Staden has been appointed as the acting chairperson of the NSFAS board. This decision aims to maintain stability within the organization during this period of transition and uncertainty.

Allegations And Investigation

The allegations against Nxasana involve purported private meetings with NSFAS service providers currently under investigation due to irregular appointments. Outa claimed to possess recordings and transcripts of these meetings, suggesting possible impropriety in the decision-making process.

It is alleged that Nxasana received financial benefits from these service providers, indicating a potential conflict of interest and undermining the integrity of NSFAS operations. Additionally, there are accusations of collaborative decision-making between Nxasana and the service providers, further raising concerns about transparency and accountability.

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Independent Legal Advice

In response to these allegations, Nzimande revealed that the board has appointed an independent legal service provider, Tshisevhe Gwina Ratshimbilani Inc (TGR Attorneys), to advise on the appropriate course of action. The awaited report from TGR Attorneys will likely play a crucial role in determining the next steps for the NSFAS board.

Operational Challenges And Oversight

Nzimande underscored the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation’s role in exercising oversight over NSFAS. Efforts are being made to address operational challenges within NSFAS,

including funding for ICT needs and capacity challenges. Moreover, the department is closely monitoring the implementation of audit plans and mitigation strategies recommended to NSFAS.

Stakeholder Engagement And Evaluation

Furthermore, the department is actively engaging with stakeholders, such as TVET colleges and universities, to ensure timely provision of accurate data and address operational bottlenecks. Nzimande also announced plans to institute a board evaluation program to assess performance against key indicators, including institutional governance, policy adherence, and performance management.

Conclusion

The NSFAS board is navigating through a period of uncertainty and scrutiny, prompted by allegations against its chairperson. However, with proactive measures, independent legal advice, and ongoing oversight, efforts are underway to uphold transparency, integrity, and effectiveness within the organization.

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