Is this NSFAS capture 2.0?

Issued by Chantel King MP – DA Shadow Minister of Higher Education
09 Jul 2023 in News
  • The DA demands clarity from Minister Blade Nzimande and BASA regarding the NSFAS direct payment debacle.
  • NSFAS beneficiaries are now required to use specific service providers to access their funds through the new NSFAS Mastercard.
  • Concerns have been raised about the selection of these service providers, their costs, and the lack of transparency in the direct payment system.

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

The DA has written to the Minister of Higher Education, Dr Blade Nzimande, and to the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) to seek clarity on the NSFAS direct payment debacle.

NSFAS beneficiaries will now be required to use one of four service provides – Coinvest Africa, Tenet Technology, Ezaga Holdings or Norraco Corporation – to access their funds via the new NSFAS Mastercard.

On numerous occasions the NSFAS CEO, Andile Ngogo, was questioned about:

  • Application requirements for financial institutions to offer direct payment services;
  • Why Coinvest Africa, Tenet Technology, Ezaga Holdings and Norraco Corporation were preferred above established banks; and
  • Whether their service and transaction costs will benefit student.

Minister Nzimande will now have to give account and prove that students will benefit more from the services from these financial organisations.

We hope BASA can give clarity on the cost structure from well-established banks and whether Coinvest Africa, Tenet Technology, Ezaga Holdings and Norraco Corporation are accredited financial service providers.

We also call on the Minister to account for the findings from the OUTA investigative report.

Students and universities were kept in the dark about the direct payment system and its cost implications. On top of that, NSFAS beneficiaries are also still waiting on their allowances while service fees have already been deducted. And a lot of students are still waiting on funding and appeal outcomes.

NSFAS funding is a way for students from “poor and working-class families” to have financial means to access higher education.

Given the various NSFAS corruption investigations, the failure of an administrator to resolve its challenges, and the fact that SIU investigation findings are still under wraps, surely the Minister should tread with caution when it comes to NSFAS. Poor and vulnerable students must not be used as cash cows to enrich companies.