NSFAS: "We Can't Operate As We Did Before"
NSFAS has now set up many goals in hopes to improve operations at the financial aid scheme. They have also brought in a NSFAS board which has now been operating for five months.
With NSFAS no longer under Administration, the financial aid scheme has now appointed a new board along with a new CEO. With hopes to improve the institution, NSFAS is said to already be heading towards stability.
During a briefing to introduce the NSFAS Board to the Portfolio Committee, the Chairperson said, "its no small scheme at all. NSFAS is no small organisation ... It has had its challenges”
Even though NSFAS was put under adminstration to weed through the chaos, they said that many issues arose and that they now aim to make NSFAS fit for purpose citing, “It cannot operate as it did 4 years ago”.
In 2018, NSFAS was changed from a loan scheme to a bursary scheme with the NSFAS Board said only caused issues:
Given that there was a short time to execute this new mandate, the scheme was not appropriately designed and prepared to handle this change. Consequently, this led to organisational challenges that are widely known.
"On the important role that NSFAS has played in the country, the scheme has had its problems and today we met with PCHET to discuss these issues", NSFAS Board Chairperson, Mr. Ernest Khosa, said.
The Portfolio Committee of Higher Education (PCHET) headed to the NSFAS Head Office in Wynberg, Cape Town, on an oversight visit, which they said they were satisfied with.
Previously, the PCHET requested an inquiry into the affairs of NSFAS while it was under Administration.
Philly Mapulane, Chairperson of the PCHET, said that there are now not as many complaints from staff members as there were during Dr Randall Carolissen’s administration.
Since his arrival, he has affected stability ... we have not been experiencing any complaints from the staff to us.
This, they say, is an indication that situation is stabilising as Khosa continued to say, “We want it to stabilise. We want it to succeed”.
New NSFAS Board
The new NSFAS board was appointed in 2021 with the NSFAS CEO being appointed four months before the end of the previous financial year.
The aim of the NSFAS board is to turn around the institution and is made up of Chartered Accountants, other skilled individuals and also a Professor from Unisa.
They are equal to the task.
"We obtained some valuable inputs from PCHET which we will incorporate in our strategies," said Khosa.
Among the new tasks of the NSFAS board, they want to restructure the institution and become more visible to students.
NSFAS is encouraged to work harder to provide responses to students as they’ve received many complaints with some even going to the PCHET.
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