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By Chulumanco Mahamba

Digital Night Supervisor

Nsfas board chair Ernest Khosa resigns

Ernest Khosa steps down following corruption accusations by Outa, but denies involvement in Nsfas corruption.

National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) board chairperson Ernest Khosa has resigned.

Nsfas chair accused of corruption

Khosa had previously asked to be placed on leave in the wake of allegations against him by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa). The organisation accused him and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande of corruption.

They have denied the allegations.

Nzimande issued a statement on Thursday afternoon announcing Khosa’s resignation, wishing him well in his future endeavours.

Outa released a report supported by voice recordings alleging Nzimande and Khosa received millions of rands in kickbacks from service providers contracted by Nsfas.

ALSO READ: Nsfas board chair Ernest Khosa takes leave of absence amid corruption allegations

Non-payment of student allowances

Meanwhile, in the rest of the minister’s statement, he addressed the issue of non-payment of student allowances by Nsfas.

“Given the magnitude of this problem and its negative impact on the well-being of students and the continued functioning of our post-school education and training system, in the next few days, the minister will be taking a series of additional and decisive steps, all of which are intended to have the problem of non-payment of allowances resolved as a matter of priority,” the department of higher education and training said.

Task team

According to the department, Nzimande has instructed Nsfas to immediately establish a task team that will visit all TVET colleges and universities where students are experiencing serious problems.

Against valid registration records received on 15 March, the department said Nsfas has paid disbursements for university and TVET college students in respect of the 2024 academic cycle.

For the latest payment cycle, Nsfas has paid TVET college students allowances and tuition to the value of R511 106 120 in total, according to the department.

ALSO READ: ‘I don’t have money for groceries’- UJ Nsfas students hungry after being short changed by over R1.3K

For universities, the department said Nsfasa has paid allowances and tuition to the value of R2.3 billion.

“Regrettably, not all TVET colleges and universities have complies with the Nsfas deadline of 15 March 2024 for the submission of student registration data to facilitate the payment of allowances. The failures to comply by some TVET colleges and universities has contributed to the latest sporadic student protest,” it said.

Urgent meeting

The department said that to address this, Nzimande dispatched the director-general to have an urgent meeting with the Nsfas management. The meeting happened on Thursday morning.

Nsfas has also sent its servicing administrators to work with the non-compliant colleges and universities to finalise the student registration data submission.

“Further to all this, the minister intends to engage all key stakeholders in the sectors, such as student leadership, USAf, and SAPCO with the view to ensure that the issues of non-payment of Nsfas student allowances and related challenges are resolved as a matter of priority.”

Nzimande has apologised to all affected students.

ALSO READ: SIU recovers almost R1bn in Nsfas funds from higher learning institutions

Additional reporting by Faizel Patel.