NSFAS chairman on voluntary leave amid investigation

Henry

Ernest Khoza, chairman of the National Financial Aid Scheme for Students (NSFAS), has been placed on voluntary leave amid allegations of large-scale illegalities in the awarding of tenders to certain service providers.

During a special council meeting on Wednesday, Khoza requested to be placed on voluntary leave of 30 days in order to give the council the opportunity to investigate the allegations against him.

“The chairman reiterated to the council that he has never himself received any bribe or facilitated any bribe for the minister of higher education,” the council said in a statement, adding that Khoza had also expressed his concern about threats that against his life and that of his family.

The council informed Minister Blade Nzimande of Khoza’s voluntary leave as he has the responsibility to appoint an acting council chairman.

“The board would like to take this opportunity to thank Khosa for his honorable, brave and responsible decision to take voluntary leave, and welcomes his decision as a responsible and conscious step to promote good corporate governance, transparency and accountability.”

The council has meanwhile decided to appoint an independent legal firm to investigate the allegations against Khoza and submit its findings within 30 days.

Earlier, criminal charges were filed against Nzimande and Khosa regarding the alleged illegalities involving the pressure group Outa’s damning investigative report.

The allegations concern a so-called patronage network in the department of higher education.

On Monday, Nzimande denied the damning allegations and said he had never used the department’s money to fund the SACP or received any personal back payments from any service providers.

He also lashed out at Outa’s report and said “it’s all lies”.

Nzimande said he “refuses to resign”, but various political parties and Outa have now appealed to pres. Cyril Ramaphosa did to summarily dismiss the minister.