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Nzimande Slams Corruption Claims in NSFAS Saga

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Nzimande Slams Corruption Claims in NSFAS Saga

Nzimande Slams Corruption Claims in NSFAS Saga. Higher education, science, and innovation minister Dr Blade Nzimande has strongly refuted allegations of corruption involving himself and NSFAS chairperson Ernest Khosa. The accusations suggest that they received substantial kickbacks, including funds for the South African Communist Party (SACP), from a fintech partner associated with monthly allowances for NSFAS-funded tertiary students.

OUTA Leaked Recordings

The claims surfaced following the release of leaked voice recordings by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa). These recordings allegedly captured meetings between Khosa and a service provider representative, implying corrupt practices in return for tenders and protection for service providers.

Minister Response

Minister Nzimande held a media briefing to challenge the allegations, dismissing them as part of a ‘nefarious fight-back campaign.’ He emphasized his commitment to corruption-free governance at NSFAS and maintained that he never used department funds for SACP or received personal kickbacks.

Legal Action and Ethical Review

Expressing confidence in his innocence, Minister Nzimande declared his intention to take legal action and voluntarily submit to the ethics bodies of the ANC and the SACP. He highlighted his adherence to the SACP’s guidelines, preventing fundraising from department entities or service providers.

NSFAS Developments | Conflict of Interest Uncovered

Last October, the NSFAS board severed ties with fintech partners amid an investigation revealing a conflict of interest in their appointment for direct payments to students. The four fintech firms—Coinvest, eZaga Holdings, Noracco Corporation, and Tenet Technology—had secured a R47 billion contract.

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Opposition Call for Resignation

In response to the allegations, political parties like the Democratic Alliance (DA) have called for Minister Nzimande resignation. DA leader John Steenhuisen demands a broader investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and plans to initiate mass mobilization campaigns, seeking President Cyril Ramaphosa’s intervention.

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Legal Action by the DA

The DA intends to obtain the Werksmans report through the Promotion of Access to Information Act and pursue criminal charges against Minister Nzimande. They also aim to declare the NSFAS board delinquent, aligning with the State Capture Commission recommendations.

Conclusion

The unfolding NSFAS saga underscores the deepening challenges and scrutiny facing higher education governance, demanding thorough investigations and transparent actions to restore public trust.

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