Outa Urges Swift Probe into NSFAS CEO Andile Nongogo Amid Bid Controversy.The Organization Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has called for a prompt and thorough investigation into the conduct of Andile Nongogo, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), regarding his alleged improper actions in the bidding process within NSFAS.
Special Leave Imposed on Nongogo by NSFAS Amid Suspicions of Financial Impropriety
In response to mounting concerns about potential questionable financial activities involving Nongogo and other external entities, the NSFAS board has decided to place him on special leave. This move comes as a response to growing suspicions of unethical financial dealings.
NSFAS Board Initiates Investigation into Allegations with Focus on Direct Payment Project
The NSFAS board has issued an official statement announcing its intent to conduct an investigation into the allegations against Nongogo. The inquiry will primarily focus on the recently introduced direct payment project. The scheme has expressed its commitment to uncover the truth behind Nongogo’s actions in relation to his past involvement with the Services Sector Education and Training Authority (SSETA) and his role in awarding bids within NSFAS.
Nongogo Implicated in Irregular Tender Activities Involving Public Funds
Andile Nongogo, who formerly served as the CEO of SSETA, has been implicated in alleged irregularities concerning tenders, involving a substantial amount of R37 million in public funds. The nature of these tender-related irregularities has raised serious concerns over Nongogo’s integrity and credibility.
Outa’s Vigilance and Ministerial Accountability
Outa claims to have uncovered these irregularities as early as September 2022. However, their attempts to gather information through the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) were reportedly denied by the scheme. The organization has also directed criticism at Blade Nzimande, the Minister of Higher Education, for purportedly disregarding the concerns voiced by students regarding the NSFAS direct payment system.
Positive Response to Leave of Absence Despite Outa’s Call
Despite Outa’s demand for a speedy investigation, the organization acknowledges the announcement of Nongogo’s leave of absence during the ongoing inquiry. This development is seen as a positive step towards ensuring an unbiased investigation process.
NSFAS Students’ Accommodation Woes Amid Payment Struggles
The situation has intensified for students funded by NSFAS, with reports of evictions from student accommodation due to non-payment of rental fees. A case in point is the eviction of 360 Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) NSFAS students by Gold Buffalo Group in Cape Town. The group attributes their actions to consistent payment issues from NSFAS via CPUT, with an estimated outstanding amount of R6.3 million.
Wider Landlord Plight Echoes Payment Concerns
Gold Buffalo Group’s statement highlights that their experience is not unique, as other landlords are facing similar payment-related challenges from NSFAS. The lack of response from senior management exacerbates the situation, leaving both students and landlords in a precarious position.