Embattled Nsfas suspends CEO over maladministration allegations

Suspended Nsfas CEO Steven Zwane. Photo: Africa Daily

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) has suspended its CEO, Steven Zwane, over maladministration allegations levelled against him.

The suspension of Zwane comes just 10 months after he was appointed following the resignation of the then Nsfas CEO Msulwa Daca.

The student funding scheme said Zwane’s suspension was to ensure “fairness” of the investigation into the allegations.

“The Nsfas administrator, Dr Randall Carolissen, is in the process of reviewing governance at Nsfas. This is in line with the ministerial mandate to oversee the management, governance, and administration of the entity. This includes all necessary forensic and other investigations currently under way,” the entity said in a statement.

Early this month, the South African Students’ Congress (Sasco) called on Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor to fire Zwane over “inefficiencies and lack of leadership” after Nsfas halted 2019 applications that were expected to commence on August 1 due to payment backlogs from 2017 and 2018.

Last month, the National Health and Education Workers’ Union also called for Zwane’s head as well as that of Sizwe Nxasana, who resigned as Nsfas chairperson on August 9.

Nxasana admitted that the Nsfas payments system had come under extreme strain after then president Jacob Zuma announced last December that students from poor families would receive free higher education.

Following Nxasana’s resignation, Pandor met with the Nsfas board and appointed South African Revenue Service executive Carollissen “to take over the governance, management and administration” of the student funding scheme for a year.