NSFAS maladministration

NSFAS maladministration has led to millions in mismanaged funds, says the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). Image: File/Fotor

R737 million recovered in NSFAS maladministration is just the start

The Special Investigating Unit says R737 million in mismanaged funds has already been recovered due to NSFAS maladministration, with more to come.

NSFAS maladministration

NSFAS maladministration has led to millions in mismanaged funds, says the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). Image: File/Fotor

The embattled National Student Financial Aid Scheme now has damning findings over NSFAS maladministration to deal with. South Africa’s Special Investigating Unit (SIU), formerly the Hawks, says R737 million in mismanaged funds has been recovered thus far. And there’s likely more to be unearthed.

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In a Business Live report, the unit presented its findings to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts this week. The above figure includes unallocated funds and signed acknowledgments of debt.


NSFAS maladministration
Dr Blade Nzimande briefing members of the media on the ‘missing middle’ student funding scheme. Image: File

Furthermore, the NSFAS is having a 2024 to forget, after its board chair, Ernest Khosa, had to take a leave of absence amid corruption allegations. The scheme then had to extend its deadline for 2024 applications due to millions of requests going unprocessed.

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SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago says R737 million has already been recovered in the investigation into NSFAS maladministration. Of this figure, R688 million were unallocated funds and R49 million acknowledgment of debts. Investigators say the NSFAS has failed to implement the most basic controls to ensure an annual reconciliation of funds disbursed versus those allocated.


NSFAS maladministration
Millions of students have applied for financial aid in 2024 but the deadline has been extended to 15 February. Image: File

Therefore, “control weaknesses” have led to overpayments and underpayments of funds to various different institutions since 2017, says the SIU. In a bid to rectify this, the NSFAS has hired a service provider to assist with “close-out reporting”.

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The e-wallet/voucher system known as Celbux has several dormant accounts, which received upwards of R320 million. The SIU is authorised to investigate allegations of NSFAS maladministration, in the hope of recovering any losses through corruption and/or negligence.


The funds recovered from tertiary institutions so far include:

  • Nkangala TVET College – R342 672 50.
  • University of Johannesburg – R311 892 088.
  • University of Pretoria – R200 000 000.
  • University of Zululand – R58 088 144.
  • University of Mpumalanga – R33 668 138.
  • Northlink College – R33 369 404.
  • Majuba TVET College – R25 902 309.
  • Walter Sisulu University – R19 900 174.
  • West Coast College – R5 057 679.

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