NSFAS Denies Paying Allowances To More Than 150 000 Ghost Students

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More than one million student rely on allowances from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). If these allowance payment are late, students become at risk of hunger as they have no money to purchase food and other essential items for their studies. 

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The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has refuted recent claims of late payment of allowances to students. According to NSFAS, all payments of allowances have been processed on time.

In October, NSFAS successfully dispersed allowances to 143,423 beneficiaries at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, totalling R681,051,078. Additional security measures were implemented due to phishing threats, which temporarily delayed the disbursement of funds to universities

NSFAS is committed to disbursing allowances to students on 1 November 2023

To minimise delays and enhance the efficiency of fund transfers, NSFAS has taken various measures to streamline its disbursement processes. They explain that they understand the importance of these funds to students and is dedicated to providing financial assistance to those in need.

NSFAS Board Chairperson Ernest Khosa says claims made in media article alleging that NSFAS paid monthly allowances to 157,980 "ghost students" are not true.

Khosa explains that the use of the Know Your Customer (KYC) validation process to verify the accuracy and authenticity of student information. This process ensures that only eligible students receive financial assistance and offers flexible verification options, including Electronic Biological Authentication and face-to-face verification.

They add that NSFAS is committed to disbursing allowances to students through its Direct Payment partners, and the organisation will continue to work closely with educational institutions, students, and stakeholders to ensure the smooth execution of the disbursement process.

Khosa added that NSFAS also has no intention of engaging in a public dispute. This comes after several allegations were made by former NSFAS CEO Andile Nongogo,

Khosa briefed the media in October 2023 to reveal findings of an investigation into allegations regarding the appointment of direct payment service providers. The investigation found that there may have been possible relationships between key individuals including Nongogo and the Fintech companies appointed to pay allowances directly to students.

It was also revealed that there was active involvement of the CEO in the presentation to the Bid Evaluation Committee and potential conflicts of interest in the appointment of service providers.

The investigation specifically focused on irregularities related to Bid NO. SCMN022/2021, which involved the appointment of service providers for direct payments. The report also several other issues including a lack of a feasibility study and amendments to the bid specifications

NSFAS considers the statements made by Nongogo to be false and unfounded. They added that their focus remains on implementing the recommendations from the Werksman report. 

Suggested Article:

Suspended CEO Andile Nonogogo

The recent dismissal of NSFAS CEO on the grounds of corruption, adds to a list of ongoing crises from the scheme. A report which exposed the financial aid scheme for maladministration, reiterates the ongoing issues with the disbursement of student allowances that have plagued continued eligible students.

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