The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) would like to express its concerns about the corruption and mismanagement within the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), issues which directly impact the future of our youth. Recent revelations have brought to light the irregular awarding of contracts to four service providers that failed to deliver the promised services in disbursing bursary funds to students.
The consequences of these improprieties have been grave, leaving us with no choice but to demand immediate accountability. We call for the immediate return of the NSFAS funds earmarked for student disbursement and demand that the four service providers be held accountable.
A report compiled by Werksmans Attorneys exposed a disturbing pattern of irregularities that have compromised the primary objective of NSFAS, which is to support students in their pursuit of higher education. These irregularities have resulted in undue financial hardship and uncertainty for thousands of young South Africans, for whom access to higher education is a lifeline to a brighter future.
In light of the revelations contained in the Werksmans Attorneys report, the IFP unequivocally calls for the immediate resignation of Minister Blade Nzimande. In Parliament, Hon. SS Zondo MP asked about these allegations but Minister Blade Nzimande dismissed it saying, “NSFAS is doing okay nezikinga ezikhona azikho ngendlela osekushiwo ngayo futh ngihlanganile neBoard konke Kuzolunga”.
We firmly believe that accountability at the highest levels of government is not just a moral obligation but an imperative for the restoration of the trust in and credibility of NSFAS.
Furthermore, we call for legal action against suspended CEO Andile Nongogo. The leadership under his watch has demonstrated severe maladministration, leading to the untimely disbursement of allowances to approximately 80 000 students. Such negligence and the failure to fulfil the mandate of NSFAS are unacceptable. The IFP insists on a thorough investigation, and if found guilty of misconduct, Nongogo must face legal consequences, which could include jail time.
The IFP emphasises its unwavering commitment to ensuring that the educational aspirations of South African students are not thwarted by corruption, mismanagement, or maladministration within NSFAS.
We recognise the critical importance of NSFAS in promoting equitable access to higher education, and we cannot compromise its effectiveness.
We are dedicated to continuing our oversight and advocacy efforts to ensure that those responsible for these grave lapses in governance are held accountable. We believe that only through swift and decisive actions to address these issues can we rebuild the confidence of students and their families in the NSFAS system.
Hon. Sanele Sethembeni Zondo MP
IFP Spokesperson on Higher Education and Training and IFP Youth Brigade National Chairperson
082 659 9870