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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Confidential Report Exposes The Rot At Centre Of NSFAS


A report by NEHAWU tabled in Parliament has detailed how National Students Financial Scheme’s administrator Randall Carolissen made irregular appointments without following proper processes.

The report was submitted to the portfolio committee on higher education, science and technology.

The report shows that no processes were followed in the recruitment of senior management staff at NSFAS under Carolissen.

Nehawu alleges that this was done in order to create positions for Minister Blade Nzimande’s preferred candidates.

Nehawu claims that Sibongile Mncwabe, a former PA and Acting Chief of Staff to the Minister of Higher Education and Training, “is overseeing all the HR matters at NSFAS in order to open an opportunity for ‘nepotism’.”

Nehawu also claims that Nzimande extended the term of the administration for a period of four more months from September to December 2020.

This was done silently, without the Government Gazette and consultation with stakeholders, according to Nehawu.

“The Minister did not consult with key stakeholders prior to the extension, for example, NEHAWU and SASCO were not consulted,” the union said.

“This appointment has serious constraints on the fiscus due to lack of funds within the government.”

The union also claimed that there has been unnecessary and illegal extension of contracts for the team of NSFAS advisors.

“The extension of all Advisors amounts to fruitless and wasteful expenditure as they all earn around R2 Million each per annum,” said Nehawu.

“In addition to salaries, each advisor receives a package which includes unlimited flights home (similar to members of Parliament), month to month car rentals, airport shuttles and V&A luxury apartments. Some of the Advisors appointed themselves into Executive positions at NSFAS, making them permanent employees before the end of the Administration period.”

NSFAS has denied Nehawu’s allegations.

In its report to Parliament, NSFAS said the administrator, in consultation with Nzimande, acquired the requisite ministerial approval to appoint advisors, in accordance with the legislative prescripts.

“The process of identifying candidates for appointment was therefore a collaborative process with nominations for the various advisory roles sought from: The Administrator; the Department of Higher Education and Training; and the Minister,” said NSFAS.

“The selection of the Advisors was based on their areas of knowledge, expertise and experience, as well as their availability for a short-term role.”


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