FF Plus wants urgent meeting with parliamentary portfolio committee on higher education

Minister of Higher Education Dr Blade Nzimande Blade Nzimande. | Boxer Ngwenya

Minister of Higher Education Dr Blade Nzimande Blade Nzimande. | Boxer Ngwenya

Published Jan 7, 2024


Calls for Minister of Higher Education Dr Blade Nzimande to be axed over alleged NSFAS bribe and corruption scandal continue to grow.

This comes after an expose by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) on Thursday calling out Nzimande and chairperson of NSFAS board Ernest Khosa over bribery claims.

According to Outa, Nzimande and Khosa have been fingered in alleged bribery claims with OUTA announcing that it was in possession of recordings of meetings between Khosa and a representative of NSFAS service providers who are fingered in payment of millions in kickbacks to Nzimande, Khosa and the SACP in return for tenders and protection for service providers.

On Saturday, the FF Plus requested an urgent meeting of the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Innovation following the latest revelations at the financial aid scheme.

The Board of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) Chairperson, Ernest Khosa. | Thobile Mathonsi Independent Newspapers

The allegations have implicated the two leaders who are yet to respond to the allegations.

FF Plus chief spokesperson, Dr Wynand Boshoff, has revealed that NSFAS has been in a state of emergency ever since it was saddled with delivering on the ANC’s promise of free higher education in 2018.

“There is also a constant cloud of corruption hanging over the Scheme and its budget of more than R40 billion. The current board was appointed in 2021 after NSFAS had been under administration for two years. Levelling allegations of taking bribes against the Minister and chairperson is very serious. Nzimande has already denied it,” said Boshoff.

Boshoff said the portfolio committee, which is responsible for holding the minister and the entire department has a duty to act against this scandal.

According to FF Plus, Outa has submitted its report to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), and the Portfolio Committee who are expected to act on this report.

However, the SABC reports that the minister, through departmental spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi, has denied the allegations levelled against him.

“There is absolutely nothing wrong that the leadership has done. They have not received any money from anyone as it is being alleged that there has been such. There is no money that the chairperson has received for his personal gain nor the minister nor the South African Communist Party,” Mnisi said.

In a statement addressing the allegations, Khosa also dismissed the allegations made by Outa saying: “The Chairperson of the NSFAS Board, Mr Ernest Khosa strongly dismiss with contempt this voice recording and insinuation that he has received money, meant for him, Minister Nzimande, the South Africa Communist Party (SACP) and other third parties.”

Khosa said the allegations are being made by individuals and organisations who are hellbent to stop it from implementing a recent report by the Werkmans Attorneys.

“NSFAS Board notes the fight back by some unscrupulous individuals and organisations who are determined to defocus NSFAS from implementing the Werksmans Attorneys report recommendations. It is also interesting to note that the Outa statement coincides with the NSFAS Board decision to start with the legal proceedings to terminate the contracts of the direct payment solution service providers,” NSFAS said.