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NSFAS Board Initiates Investigation into CEO Andile Nongogo Amidst Procurement System Review



NSFAS Board Initiates Investigation into CEO Andile Nongogo Amidst Procurement System Review

NSFAS Board Initiates Investigation into CEO Andile Nongogo Amidst Procurement System Review.In a recent development, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) Board is set to launch a comprehensive investigation into its CEO, Andile Nongogo. Alongside this inquiry, the NSFAS procurement systems and processes are also under review.

NSFAS Board Initiates Investigation into CEO Andile Nongogo Amidst Procurement System Review

The board has taken significant steps to address the matter by engaging Werksman Incorporated to investigate allegations surrounding Nongogo’s involvement with the Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Services Seta), as well as the awarding of bids within NSFAS.

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Focus on Direct Payment Project Implementation

The spotlight of this investigation will particularly shine on the Direct Payment Project. This project was initially piloted for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges last year and subsequently introduced for university students this year. The objective is to scrutinize the processes and outcomes of the project, ensuring accountability and transparency.

Leadership of the Investigation

The NSFAS Board has enlisted the expertise of Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi and Sandile July to lead the investigation. Their role is pivotal in ensuring the impartiality and thoroughness of the inquiry.

CEO’s Leave of Absence and Acting CEO

During the course of the investigation, Andile Nongogo will be on a leave of absence from his CEO position. In his absence, Masile Ramorwesi, the chief financial officer, will act as the CEO until further notice.

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Commitment to Clean Governance

Ernest Khosa, the chairperson of the NSFAS Board, reiterated the board’s dedication to upholding clean governance principles. This commitment is essential to restore confidence and trust in the organization.

Minister’s Deadline and Student Protests

Higher Education, Science, and Technology Minister Blade Nzimande set a deadline of August 30 for the NSFAS board to present its strategy for addressing the challenges related to the direct payment solution. This directive came on the heels of the investigation announcement and student protests linked to issues within NSFAS.

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Student Concerns and Memorandum of Demands

Students from various universities expressed their discontent with the implementation of the direct payment system through third-party companies. They marched to Parliament to voice their concerns and submitted a memorandum of demands to the National Assembly committee on higher education and the Department of Higher Education.

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These demands encompassed consultations with Student Representative Councils (SRC), a call for a Special Investigative Unit (SIU) investigation, decentralization of NSFAS for efficient solutions, immediate review of student defunding, abolishment of the NSFAS accommodation cap, empowerment of the Missing Middle, rejection of the 60-credit policy, consistent NSFAS funding criteria, and refusal of the NSFAS Direct Payment mandate.

Previous Investigation by Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa)

In a prior investigation by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), concerns were raised about the mismanagement of student funds and tender corruption at NSFAS. The findings revealed that businesses lacking proper licensing were engaged to manage direct payments of student allowances, resulting in higher fees for students. This situation left many students defunded and uncertain about their basic necessities.

Ongoing Issues and Presidential Intervention

The challenges at NSFAS have persisted over time. President Cyril Ramaphosa took action in August of the previous year by authorizing the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) to probe allegations of corruption and maladministration at NSFAS. This move was aimed at recovering any financial losses incurred by the state due to corrupt practices and negligence.

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The NSFAS Board’s decision to initiate an investigation into CEO Andile Nongogo’s actions, alongside its review of procurement systems, underscores its commitment to accountability and improved governance. This effort is in response to various student concerns and broader issues within the organization, as revealed by recent events and past investigations.

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