DA welcomes SIU investigation into NSFAS

Issued by Chantel King MP – DA Shadow Minister for Higher Education
28 Aug 2022 in News

Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbite by Chantel King MP.

The DA welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigation into the management of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme’s (NSFAS) finances and allocation of funding.

NSFAS was placed under administration in 2018/19 to assist with financial and operational management. Conflicting views on the approach of the administrator drew union interference and contradictory reports from the office of the Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, and the parliamentary portfolio committee on higher education.

Moreover, the transition from a loan- to a bursary system posed various challenges. Outdated IT systems, underfunded administration cost, Auditor-General (AG) concerns on the non-aligned legislative framework of NSFAS, were just some of the issues hampering its mandate. To date these challenges persist, leading to questionable disbursement of bursaries, backlogged appeals and extensive delays in reporting.

The Ministerial Task Team, appointed to review the scheme, is yet to deliver its long overdue report on the sustainability of student funding, further delaying an informed conclusion on NSFAS’ sustainability and the country’s ability to fund fee-free higher education.

We call on the Minister to ensure a cooperative space for this investigation to run its course and any criminal conduct uncovered be pursued to the fullest extent of the law.