The United Democratic Movement (UDM) demands that Blade Nzimande, the so-called Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Technology, be removed from office due to his self-serving and selfish behaviour, especially considering the recent R47 billion student allowance payment scandal involving the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

On Wednesday the NSFAS board stated that Tenet Technologies, which dismally failed to pay 80 000 of the fund’s beneficiaries their monthly allowance on time, was unfairly advantaged and then subcontracted its state-issued irregular tender to a firm owned by the same directors.

The UDM is aware that, this is one of the gross conflicts of interest and violations of National Treasury regulations that were discovered after an investigation into how NSFAS CEO Andile Nongogo handpicked which companies to disburse student allowances.

Furthermore, an investigation conducted by law firm Werksmans Attorneys and advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi found that Andile Nongogo violated NSFAS supply-chain management policies when he appointed a person known as Dr. Chirwa as a technical advisor during the bid process to select four firms to pay students their allowances directly.

NSFAS has a R47.6 billion budget for 2023, and services more than 1.1 million students.

Additionally, Tenet Technologies was also responsible for 80 604 students who didn’t receive their R1,650 allowances on time this month (reports) after the firm disbursed payments to 144 396 of the 225 000 beneficiaries under its responsibility at 13 TVET colleges and six universities across the country.

As this alleged corruption continues, Tenet Technologies also subcontracted work to a company called Coralite, which has the same directors as Tenet Technologies. Also, upon visiting the company’s official website, the UDM can safely state that NSFAS is the only client listed on its solutions page.

The report also established that the so-called Dr. Chirwa and Andile Nongogo were conflicted in awarding contracts to eZAGA Holdings (an Alliance Partner of Access Bank of South Africa), which both are claimed to have a relationship of having worked together at the Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA), which provides industry-specific training to job seekers. On their website, eZAGA Holdings only has NSFAS as a client too, which shows that both Tenet Technologies and eZAGA have dipped into the NSFAS cookie jar.

The UDM had exposed serious alleged wastage of money at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), whilst students are not getting paid on time and others are denied the opportunity to access much-needed funds at all.

NSFAS recently moved to another building using a turn-key solution, from a building where the rent had been R500,000 per month, to one where the rent now is a whopping R2 million per month.

The UDM is against this chain of corruption and is calling for Blade Nzimande to be thoroughly investigated and fired as a Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Technology or any other parliamentary portfolio for that matter.

Issued by:
United Democratic Movement National Office
Mr Yongama Zigebe
UDM Secretary General