NSFAS Spin Doctor Set to Become Spokesperson. As of December 1, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will see a change in leadership with the appointment of Ishmael Mnisi as its new spokesperson and senior manager for corporate communications. This announcement comes amidst recent turmoil at NSFAS, including the dismissal of its CEO, Andile Nongogo, due to a tender corruption scandal.
In an official statement released on Monday, Slumezi Skosana, the outgoing NSFAS spokesperson, expressed the organization’s enthusiasm regarding Mnisi’s appointment. Mnisi, previously the spokesperson for Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande, brings with him 23 years of experience in corporate communications.
A Seasoned Communicator with a Diverse Background
Mnisi’s professional journey began in 2000 as the deputy manager for publications at the Limpopo office of the premier. Over the years, he held various key positions in corporate communications, including deputy manager for corporate communications and marketing at the Limpopo Department of Public Works, media liaison coordinator for the ANC, and director for media liaison, spokesperson, and speech writer for the national Department of Transport.
His extensive career has equipped him with organizational skills, administrative talent, and communication prowess that will prove invaluable to NSFAS as it navigates through challenges and strives to rebuild its image.
Tackling Institutional Challenges and Restoring Trust
The timing of Mnisi’s appointment is significant, given NSFAS’s recent struggles, particularly the tender corruption scandal that led to the dismissal of its CEO. An investigation commissioned by the board revealed Nongogo’s involvement in the evaluation of bids and the appointment of direct payment service providers, resulting in the awarding of tenders to fintech companies to disburse substantial amounts in student allowances.
Mnisi’s responsibilities at NSFAS include delivering public relations campaigns, managing and implementing the NSFAS brand, developing advertising and digital communication strategies, overseeing content development, publications, writing and editorial services, designing a national communications strategy, and engaging with the media for reputation management.
A Bright Future for NSFAS
Skosana expressed optimism about Mnisi’s contribution to NSFAS, stating, “The board believes that his wealth of experience will improve the relationship between NSFAS and the media and its stakeholders.” This includes key stakeholders such as the Department of Higher Education and Training, organized student formations, University South Africa (Usaf), the South African Public College Organisation (SAPCO), organized labor, and third-party agencies.
Mnisi’ academic qualifications, including a national diploma in journalism, a BTech in journalism, a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts specializing in Public Administration and Development, and a certificate in Project Management, underscore his commitment to excellence in communication and administration. His training in public financial management, communication protocols, and labor relations further positions him as a well-rounded professional ready to face the challenges ahead.
As Ishmael Mnisi steps into his new role, the NSFAS board extends well wishes, anticipating a positive impact on the organization’s communication strategy, stakeholder relationships, and overall reputation.
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