Seven officials suspended for mismanagement at National Skills Fund

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The Department of Higher Education and Training says it has suspended all officials implicated in the alleged maladministration and corruption at the National Skills Fund (NSF). This forms part of the implementation of recommendations of the Ministerial Task Team and the Nexus forensic report.

The report was commissioned after more than R5 billion went missing. The NSF was established to fund, among other things, skill development initiatives to assist post-secondary students in combating unemployment.

Director General of Higher Education and Training, Nkosinathi Sishi, says all implicated officials have been suspended pending the outcomes of the disciplinary process.

“We have already started the suspension of those officials that were implicated in the report. We further added other officials that we do not report to from five to seven now-the total number that has been suspended. But further to that chairperson we report today that all of them have been charged formally and those preferred charges. We have also given them a chance to respond to the charges and all of them have also responded to the charges that have been preferred.”

And an independent panel has been appointed to conduct the disciplinary process. “We have chairperson appointed an independent panel. It was an intention to appoint at the time we were here, and I am happy to say that the panel has actually been responsible for the preference of the charges to these officials. So it is in place and we have had to do a procurement process for ensuring that all evidence required by the independent panel is presented to the department by the investigators.”

Acting CEO of the NSF, David Mabusela, says the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has also been roped in to recover the money.

“There has been consultation with respect to the procedure – the modus operandi moving forward, the document compilation and other stuff that are related to SIU in doing their work. They have been in touch with the DG, Advocate Andy Mothibe. He has been in touch with the DG in relation to how does this move forward – the civil aspect of recouping what NSF lost.”

Last year, Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande reported that the Skills Fund could not account for R5 billion for two financial years.

VIDEO: Higher Education’s forensic report on possible corruption in the NSF: Asanda Ngoasheng