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Outa Applauds NSFAS CEO Decision to Take Leave Amid Investigation

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Outa Applauds NSFAS CEO Decision to Take Leave Amid Investigation

Outa Applauds NSFAS CEO Decision to Take Leave Amid Investigation. The Organization Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has expressed its approval of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) board’s announcement regarding the voluntary leave of absence taken by the scheme’s CEO, Andile Nongogo.

The leave of absence has been initiated in light of ongoing investigations into allegations of misconduct in the awarding of tenders at NSFAS, as well as other irregularities linked to Nongogo’s tenure at the Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Seta).

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Prompt Action Encouraged by Outa

Outa emphasizes the necessity of expediting the investigation into Nongogo’s alleged involvement and urges the NSFAS board to take corrective measures to address contractual issues with service providers. Outa’s engagement with these concerns dates back to September 2022 when irregularities were initially uncovered. Despite its subsequent application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to obtain more information from NSFAS in October of the same year, the request was denied.

In February 2023, Outa published a comprehensive report revealing that four companies awarded tenders for the implementation of a new direct payment system were inadequately equipped for the task and lacked registration as financial service providers. Moreover, two of these service providers were not registered as VAT vendors. Notably, one service provider had connections with questionable tenders granted by Services Seta during Nongogo’s term as CEO, a matter previously exposed by Outa.

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Serious Allegations Warrant Swift Action

Rudie Heyneke, the Head of Investigations at Outa, has emphasized the gravity of the allegations, asserting that based on a thorough assessment of Outa’s reports and available information, prompt disciplinary hearings are warranted. Heyneke expressed concern over the misuse of public resources, particularly affecting individuals relying on financial aid, and stressed the importance of holding higher education institution executives accountable.

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Robust Oversight and Collaborative Efforts Urged

Outa’s CEO, Wayne Duvenage, has highlighted the pressing need for enhanced oversight of procurement processes. He noted that individuals with qualifications and experience akin to Andile Nongogo’s should be well-versed in the principles of the Public Finance Management Act.

Duvenage condemned negligence in fiduciary responsibilities and the wastage of public funds, advocating for strict consequences. He also called upon Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande and the NSFAS board to collaborate with Outa in combatting corruption within the higher education sector.

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NSFAS Under Investigation

Currently, NSFAS is undergoing an investigation by the Special Investigating Unit, and Outa has shared its investigation findings with the unit. The organization remains committed to promoting transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct within the realm of higher education.

Conclusion

In the quest for transparency and accountability, Outa’s endorsement of NSFAS CEO Andile Nongogo’s leave signifies a crucial moment. Swift action on alleged irregularities is imperative, as collaboration and vigilance promise positive change. This episode underscores the vital need for principled leadership and robust oversight in higher education, igniting a path toward integrity and betterment for students and society.

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