Nzimande Says OUTA Wants His Head. In a recent development, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has strongly criticized the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) for its investigative report, which alleges that the minister received kickbacks. The report, released last week, prompted Nzimande to deny all accusations and call for proof from the organization.
OUTA Allegations and Minister Response
OUTA’s report, accompanied by leaked recordings, suggests that Nzimande, NSFAS Board Chairperson Earnest Khosa, and the South African Communist Party (SACP) received kickbacks related to a lucrative tender. The tender involved the Direct NSFAS allowance payment system. Despite calls for resignations from Nzimande and Khosa, the minister remains defiant, expressing confidence and refusing to step down.
Minister Actions and Ongoing Investigation
Nzimande has called for an urgent meeting with the NSFAS board to address the allegations and has instructed the board to implement recommendations from the Werksmans Report. The minister emphasizes the ongoing collaboration with law enforcement agencies to investigate corruption and maladministration at NSFAS.
Political Fundraising and Frustrations
Acknowledging his involvement in political fundraising, particularly for the SACP, Nzimande emphasizes adherence to strict guidelines. Expressing frustration at continuous corruption allegations, the minister challenges accusers to provide evidence and defends the need for a fair and just process.
OUTA Motivations Questioned
Nzimande suggests that OUTA may be colluding with its initial targets, accusing the organization of pursuing a bigger prize: his resignation. The minister calls on the media to conduct independent investigations into the matter.
OUTA Criticized for Disruption
Nzimande alleges that OUTA’s release of the investigative report, accompanied by leaked recordings, aims to disrupt the smooth start of the academic year, showing a disregard for the plight of poor and working-class students. He questions the motives behind OUTA’s actions, characterizing the organization as serving elite interests.
Commitment to Fighting Corruption
Despite refuting OUTA’s claims, Nzimande reiterates his commitment to rooting out corruption within NSFAS and all entities under his department. The minister asserts his right to address allegations without violating his rights and challenges the perception that being a minister makes him a fair target for baseless accusations.
Audio Recording Controversy
Nzimande denies his involvement in the leaked audio recording, asserting that it does not contain his voice. He emphasizes the challenges of being a minister in the face of constant scrutiny and highlights previous instances where he was recorded reprimanding staff.
The unfolding situation reveals a complex interplay of allegations, denials, and suspicions, prompting further scrutiny into the actions and motivations of both OUTA and Minister Blade Nzimande.