SIU Recovers Millions From Universities For NSFAS

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Millions of rands are being recovered by the Special Investigating Unit. The unit found that money that should have been returned to NSFAS was held by the institutions. 

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The University of Pretoria (UP) has finalised its settlement of R400 million owed to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). This forms part of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) ongoing investigation into the financial affairs at NSFAS. 

UP paid the money into the SIU’s Trust account in four instalments of R100 million. This money was originally distributed to the institution for NSFAS funding, however, the funds were unallocated meaning they were not used for their intended purpose and should have been returned to the government bursary scheme. 

The unallocated funds are monies for students who qualified for funding but either changed institutions or deregistered. The funds stay in the possession of the institution for a year. 

It was revealed that the reason for unallocated funds is due to poor control systems and a lack of reconciliation processes by NSFAS which led to the non-collection from institutions of higher learning.

UP’s return of R400 million takes the total number of recoveries to over R 930 million received from institutions of higher learning since the inception of the SIU’s NSFAS investigation in September 2022.

Why Is The SIU Investigating NSFAS 

Proclamation R88 of 22 signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa granted the SIU authority to investigate various matters concerning NSFAS. The proclamation empowered the SIU to probe allegations of serious maladministration related to NSFAS affairs, improper or unlawful conduct by NSFAS employees or officials, and unlawful appropriation and expenditure of public funds or property. 

The SIU also probes irregular or unapproved transactions affecting state property, intentional or negligent loss of public funds or damage to public property, and certain offences specified in legislation.

The investigation has been scathing of NSFAS's lack of controls which has led to several consequences.

How Much Other Institutions Returned

  • West Coast College- R 5 057 679.00
  • NorthLink College- R 33 369 404.97
  • Walter Sisulu- R 19 900 174.00
  • Nkangala TVET- R 342 672.50
  • University of Johannesburg- R 311 892 088.94
  • University of Zululand- R 58 088 144.65
  • University of Pretoria- R 400 000 000.00
  • Majuba TVET College- R 25 902 309.31
  • University of Mpumalanga- R 33 668 138.56

In addition to this, the SIU has also signed an acknowledgement of the debt agreement (AoD) of almost R 39 million with Motheo Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College in the Free State. Furthermore, the SIU signed AoDs worth near to R11 million with parents and students who did not meet the NSFAS funding criteria.

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