Gloria Motsoere 15 April 2024 | 5:45

NSFAS has 12 months to turn things around, for reputation and students - Nzimande

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande says the appointment of NSFAS' new administrator, Freeman Nomvalo, is to return the organisation to financial stability.

NSFAS has 12 months to turn things around, for reputation and students - Nzimande

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande addresses members of the media in Pretoria on 8 March 2021 on funding discussions for prospective students for the 2021 academic year. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande says the failures of the former National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) board to address basic challenges has not only affected the well being of students, but has also led to reputational damage for the organisation.

In a media briefing on Sunday, Nzimande highlighted the reasons that led to the dissolution of the board and placing the funding scheme under administration.

He said the ousted board could not resolve challenges such as improving communication channels to interact with students.

"The inability to address very glaring and serious capacity issues, including the call centre, which is still not functional by the way. And the constant inability to address student queries in a timely manner."

With 12 months to turn things around, Nzimande said the first task of the organisation's newly-appointed administrator would be to terminate contracts with four service providers worth millions of rands.


- Nzimande dissolves NSFAS board with immediate effect

Former South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) CEO Freeman Nomvalo was appointed last week, after the funding scheme's board was dissolved with immediate effect.

Nzimande has spoken highly of Nomvalo, saying his appointment was to ensure that the scheme returned to financial stability.

Nomvalo is also expected find ways to mitigate the ongoing challenge of student information being submitted late by institutions, which has left many beneficiaries stranded without allowances.

Nzimande also allayed the fears of students over the payment of allowances.

"NSFAS will do all that it's supposed to. We want to assure everybody, we are doing this because we want to improve the functionality of the organisation."

Nzimande said Nomvalo would have to submit a progress report every three months, which would determine whether his time at the organisation as an administrator should be extended.