Political parties react to NSFAS board being dissolved

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Opposition parties say the recurring problems of non-payment of student allowances and allegations of fraudulent activities within the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) undermine the well-being of students.

They say this also threatens the continued functioning of the country’s higher education system. Parties have reacted following news that Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has dissolved the current NSFAS board.

Nzimande says the intervention to dissolve the board is meant to improve the organisational efficiency of NSFAS.

Nzimande says his office needs to ensure that NSFAS remains focused on its mandate. For now, this will be done by placing NSFAS under administration. Political parties in Parliament have reacted to this news-saying heads must roll.

“This follows the resignation of Ernest Khoza as the chairperson of NSFAS and dissolving of the NSFAS board. These allegations which implicate Mr. Khoza and Higher Education Minister Dr Blade Nzimande have shaken the foundation of trust in the administration of student financial aid once again. In light of the resignation of Mr Khoza and the dissolving of the NSFAS board, the DA calls on Minister Nzimande to follow suit and resign with immediate effect. Minister Nzimande cannot be absolved from actions of the board since he has defended the decisions of the board on numerous occasions,” says Chantel King from DA.

“It’s as if there is a chronic disease of maladministration, the wrongful appointment of service providers and money simply getting lost while the students don’t get their stipends, class fees are not paid. And the whole thing is a mess. If there is anything that can destabilize South Africa as much as a lack of electricity, it’s when NSFAS cannot efficiently service its more than million dependent students,” says Wynand Boshoff from Freedom Front Plus.

“We have been waiting for this opportunity long enough now to say that, that board was toxic, in fact, the whole of NSFAS, the board and management, it’s rotten but it’s starting from the head, Blade Nzimande. We are still calling for the not coming back of Nzimande to this department,” says Sanele Zondo from IFP.

“The ACDP has been calling for the complete overhaul of the NSFAS, following the allegations of corruption against the Minister of Higher Education Mr Blade Nzimande and the chairman of NSFAS. So, the problems currently with the board being dissolved by the minister is part of the complete dysfunction that is present within NSFAS,” says Marie Sukers from ACDP.

Following the release of leaked audio, in which both NSFAS board chair Ernest Khoza and Nzimande are implicated in alleged corrupt dealings and kickbacks from NSFAS providers, Khoza took a leave of absence.

They both denied the allegations against them.

Khoza resigned right before the minister made the announcement to dissolve the board.

Nzimande is expected to convene a meeting on Sunday to give further details on the matter.

Video: ISFAP on dissolution of NSFAS board: