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NSFAS Chair Appointed by Department of Higher Education

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NSFAS Chair Appointed by Department of Higher Education

NSFAS Chair Appointed by Department of Higher Education. In a recent development, the Department of Higher Education, under the leadership of Minister Blade Nzimande, has announced significant changes at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). The appointment of Professor Lourens Van Staden as the acting Chairperson is poised to shape the future trajectory of this critical financial aid institution.

Immediate Priorities for Professor Van Staden

Professor Van Staden steps into his role during a crucial period for NSFAS. His immediate priorities include the recruitment of a new CEO and the comprehensive implementation of the Werksmans report, a critical examination commissioned by NSFAS.

Implementing the Werksmans Report

The Werksmans Report, initiated by NSFAS, delves into irregularities associated with Bid NO. SCMN022/2021, specifically concerning the appointment of service providers for direct allowance payments. The report highlights concerning relationships between former NSFAS CEO Andile Nongogo and service providers awarded a lucrative contract. As a result, Nongogo has been terminated from his position.

Addressing Challenges Amidst Application Processing

While undertaking the responsibilities outlined in the Werksmans report, Professor Van Staden faces the challenging task of overseeing the processing of 2024 NSFAS bursary applications and ensuring a smooth commencement of the 2024 academic year.

Leadership Transition Amidst Allegations

The appointment of Professor Van Staden follows the voluntary leave of absence by NSFAS Board Chairperson Ernest Khosa, amidst allegations raised by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA). The allegations involve purported kickbacks received by Khosa and Minister Nzimande for the awarding of a lucrative tender.

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Minister Nzimande Response

Minister Nzimande has vehemently denied any wrongdoing in response to OUTA’s allegations and is considering legal action against the organization. The leave of absence for Khosa is intended to facilitate an investigation into the claims made against him and the Minister.

Future Outlook for NSFAS

As NSFAS continues to be a vital lifeline for over a million students across South African universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, the new leadership, under Professor Van Staden, aims to uphold the integrity of the institution and address any challenges identified in the Werksmans report.

Conclusion

These leadership changes, coupled with a commitment to transparency and accountability, mark a pivotal moment for NSFAS as it navigates its role in providing financial assistance to students and upholding the trust placed in the organization.

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