THE National Education and Health Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has submitted a presentation to a parliamentary portfolio panel on multiple allegations of maladministration at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
The union claims that since administrator Dr Randall Carolissen’s arrival, he has, among others, appointed his close friends and associates to senior positions without following proper recruitment procedures.
The union said Carolissen was also engaged in a reign of terror at the entity, as he victimised and purged targeted employees, especially those who refused to participate in his unlawful activities, and that there was non-compliance with statutory requirements.
NSFAS is a R35 billion state-funded loan programme for tertiary students who can’t afford fees
Nehawu’s Western Cape provincial secretary Eric Kweleta told Inside Education that the appointment of Carolissen as NSFAS administrator did not solve their challenges at the institution as earlier reported.
He said the union’s main concern was the ‘questionable’ relationship between the Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande and Carolissen.
“The minister did not consult stakeholders regarding the appointment of the NSFAS administrator. He unilaterally decided to appoint the administrator,” said Kweleta.
“There are appointments of other staff which in our view are irregular. No due processes were followed in terms of appointing Dr Randall Carolissen as an advisor. We also wanted to know if he consulted with the Minister of Finance because he was supposed to do that to get authorization.”
He added: “Minister Blade Nzimande extended the term of the administration for four months from September to December 2020. This was done silently, without the Government Gazette or consultation with stakeholders. The minister did not consult key stakeholders before the extension. Nehawu and Sasco were not consulted.”
Kweleta said there are also advisors at the cash-strapped NSFAS earning almost R2 million per annum for doing consulting work.
“These people are also in the circle of the administrator. Either they went to the same school or they are close friend or family friends. These are the same advisors living lavishly, having unlimited flights, having accommodation at the V&A Waterfront,” said Kweleta.
“With regards to tenders; there is a R3.2 billion tender that NSFAS is currently engaged with for procuring laptops. We have it on good authority that the bid committee was unilaterally changed, including the adjudication committee by the administrator.”
Kweleta said Nehawu has reported the matter to the Special Investigating Unit and the Public Protector to investigate.
“We have as early as last year engaged with the SIU on investigating the conduct of the corruption. We have also referred the matter to the Public Protector. Last week Friday we had a session with the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training where the administrator was present and we agreed on a process for 14 days, so that the necessary people mentioned in the report can be consulted and given the opportunity to give their side of the story,” said Kweleta.
Higher Education spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi declined to comment and referred all queries to NSFAS administrator.
Carolissen was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.
(COMPILED BY INSIDE EDUCATION STAFF)