The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) says three of its employees have been arrested following allegations of fraud relating to student allowances.
The staffers from the Wynberg Office were diverting student allowances to their personal accounts.
“It has come to the attention of NSFAS that there are people who are misrepresenting themselves, posing as NSFAS officials soliciting applicants to pay a sum of money in order to have their application processed or have access to application forms,” NSFAS said in a statement.
NSFAS Administrator, Dr Randall Carolissen, has instituted a number of forensic investigations relating to the general disbursement of student funds, student allowance, leakage of sensitive and confidential information, and human resources related issues, since the entity was put under Administration in August last year.
Government’s students financial aid body has warned all students applying for the 2020 funding to be careful in managing their accounts and highlighted that NSFAS applications are free.
“The best way to apply for NSFAS funding is through your smartphone. If you are not able to apply or do not have a smartphone, you are safe to approach the National Youth Development Agency office, or the Vodacom Teacher Training and Development Centre for assistance.
“We have our people stationed there to help with the applications. We are also going out into rural areas, in partnerships with various provincial departments of education,” NSFAS said.
“We appeal to students, applicants, employees and community members to report any suspicious activity promptly on the fraud hotline. All calls are kept strictly confidential and callers may remain anonymous.”
The scheme reassured the public that the arrest of the three employees will not have an impact on the 2020 applications cycle, which is expected to close on 30 November 2019.
NSFAS has also set up a dedicated independent fraud hotline called Vuvuzela.