Investigation into National Skills Fund should extend beyond the 10 identified projects

Issued by Chantel King MP – DA Shadow Minister of Higher Education
05 Apr 2023 in News

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

The DA welcomes the progress made on the recommendations from the Ministerial Task Team Report, investigating how billions of rands of the National Skills Fund (NSF) were misused.

We call on NSF to extend the scope of the investigations beyond the 10 identified projects in the Nexus forensic report.

The 10 projects investigated by Nexus forensic report revealed the level of corruption, lack of good governance, unfilled vacant posts and poor financial systems and project management processes in place at the NSF.

The scope of the SIU and HAWKS investigations should be expanded to include all projects. That is the only way to get the full extent of corruption. The 10 projects are merely a small sample of the multiple projects of the NSF. NSF should present a proper sample of 30% for a credible investigation.

The NSF task team workstreams of governance, business operating model, strategy innovation and organizational performance, human resource and change management have shown some improvement and accountability, however concern must be raised that only 5 NSF officials and 2 external officials have been served precautionary suspension letters.

For the National Skills Development programme to be successful:

  • A clear skills development mandate and skills development objective needs to be outlined,
  • Appropriate funding model and effective fund management instituted,
  • Adequate capacity applied to manage activities and mitigate risks,
  • Clearly identify roles of NSF, NSA and SETA’s to avoid overlapping of functions; and
  • Aligning the structure of the NSF to be a functional legal entity with strategic objectives that tie in with the skills development strategy.

This is a step in the right direction to ensure that there are no undue benefits from projects. Extending the scope of the investigation will reveal the source of the problem and possible remedial action.

The extent to which the NSF have been captured by corrupt syndicates, is only coming to light now.

We implore the accounting officer of Department of Higher Education Training, Dr. Shishi to engage on the extension of the scope of investigation.

Skills development in the most crucial industries cannot hang in the balance because of an entity with no clear direction and vision.