Minister calls for probe into R14m student payment

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande has called for a thorough investigation to the erroneous payment of R14.1 million into the account of a Walter Sisulu University (WSU) student.

"We simply cannot afford these kinds of blunders involving tax payers’ money, whether they occur wittingly or unwittingly. This is why I am calling for a thorough investigation to establish the facts so that there is consequence management for those found responsible,” Minister Nzimande said.

The grave error by a service provider at the university, occurred during a payment run to 3 500 students at the institution who are supported by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

This resulted in the student in question spending R818 000 of the money, before the slip-up was picked up in early August.

Minister Nzimande warned that this debacle is wholly unacceptable and serious action should be taken against all those responsible as soon as all the facts of the matter are established.

“In this light, I have instructed NSFAS, supported by officials from the department to urgently get to the bottom of the matter, with a view of ensuring that wherever the problems may lie, this will never be repeated again," Minister Nzimande said.

The Minister added that such debacles not only prejudices students who are deserving of grant support, they also posed a grave danger to the credibility of the country’s education system, as well as government's commitment to fund poor and middle class students.

He also pointed out that government is doing its best within limited resources to source funding to support children of all poor, working and middle class families in their quest to better their lives through skills acquisition.

“The Chief Executive of IntelliMali, Michael Ansell, the service provider who manages the allocation of funds at WSU has confirmed that they are taking legal action against the student. But this is not enough, the company must also deal with responsible employees.

“In a statement yesterday (Wednesday), NSFAS said it had paid WSU its total budget for the university to disburse allowances to its NSFAS funded students. The university does this using its own processes, systems and service providers without the involvement of NSFAS. It had since requested WSU to furnish it with a report on the payment debacle,” the Minister said. –

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