Ethics committee should investigate Blade

Henry

The Democratic Alliance submitted a complaint against the minister of higher education, Blade Nzimande, to the joint committee on ethics and members’ interests in parliament.

The DA requests that an investigation be launched into the serious allegations by the Organization against Tax Abuse (Outa) that the minister, the SACP and NSFAS chairman, Ernest Khosa, received unfair rewards from an NSFAS service provider.

“If these allegations are true, the minister has violated the parliamentary ethical code of conduct, as well as the principles of selflessness, integrity, objectivity, transparency, honesty and leadership contained in this code and expected of members of parliament,” says Chantel King, the DA’s shadow minister for higher education.

“It is essential that this investigation determines whether the minister is guilty of ethical misconduct and whether any public money has indeed been mismanaged.”

King says that if the minister is innocent, as he claims, although he has not yet provided any supporting evidence, he should welcome the opportunity to clear his name.

“However, if the minister is guilty, he must be fired.”

King says thousands of vulnerable students who rely on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) every year are being let down in one way or another. “If the money is not paid late, they never receive their accommodation allowance, or they are mistakenly deregistered in half of the year. And every year the minister offers excuses or attempts to shift the blame, as the minister is doing now by accusing the universities for the late payment of last year’s overdue grants.

“It is clear that Minister Nzimande has long since lost sight of his mandate, to serve students who seek to build a prosperous future despite overwhelming challenges – many of which have been caused by the minister and his department’s incompetence, and now alleged corruption.”