South Africa


SIU awaits presidential proclamation to investigate National Skills Fund and missing R5bn

SIU awaits presidential proclamation to investigate National Skills Fund and missing R5bn
Andy Mothibi, head of the SIU. | Department of Higher Education and Training director-general Nkosinathi Sishi. (Photos: Shelley Christians)

The Special Investigating Unit has told Parliament it has drawn up papers requesting a proclamation that would allow the unit to investigate the National Skills Fund, where R5-billion went missing.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is waiting for a presidential go-ahead to investigate potential issues of malpractice and maladministration at the National Skills Fund (NSF). 

The SIU briefed Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Tuesday about a planned investigation into the fund. In 2022, the fund made headlines when R5-billion “could not be properly accounted for over two financial years”, according to Blade Nzimande, the minister of higher education. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: The National Skills Fund, the missing R5bn and Blade Nzimande’s request for confidentiality

The fund is used for education and training initiatives such as bursaries and scholarships, learner and skills programmes, and workplace-based learning; and is also aimed at improving the post-school, education and training system, with a focus on capacity building, investing in skills infrastructure, research and innovation. 

“The Department [of Higher Education and Training] has referred a number of matters for investigation,” said the SIU head, Advocate Andy Mothibi. 

The unit has drawn up a proclamation for the investigation and made its intention clear to the Department of Justice. Mothibi said a letter was sent to Justice Minister Ronald Lamola and director-general advocate Doctor Mashabane on 28 February to inform them the SIU was drawing up the proclamation. 

At this stage, the Department of Justice needs to forward the proclamation to the Presidency, where it can be formally proclaimed and then gazetted before the SIU can start investigating.

Mothibi said the investigation would focus on maladministration and malpractice. He told the committee that he had “impressed” on the Department of Justice that the issue was urgent. 

Department response 

During the committee meeting, the Department of Higher Education and Training director-general Nkosinathi Sishi said they were cooperating with law enforcement agencies. 

“We are working well with the police,” he said. In addition, there were eight officials linked to the NSF from colleges around SA that were named in the initial forensic report, who were seeking legal action over the report.  

During the meeting, several MPs questioned the NSF over vacancies at the fund, an issue that was previously raised during a higher education meeting in March. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘Very good developments’ at National Skills Fund after R5bn went missing

Sishi said the fund had advertised for the position of CEO and the appointment was in the process of being finalised. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Epsilon Indi says:

    The SAPS are a joke, so for these reprobates to claim they are co-operating well with the SAPS makes them, at best, jokes as well.

  • Trenton Carr says:

    24 hours
    1 Month
    6 Months

    How long will the do nothing prezy take to pull his finger and start fighting corruption?

  • Sam van Coller says:

    The NSF is funded by levies on business. Why is Business not jumping up and down and demanding that the fund is managed jointly by business, the trade unions and the state? In terms of the present structure business is in reality funding an ANC skills development bureaucracy and not a national skills strategy to which business and labour are fully committed

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Such as small number is 5.

    It can’t be significant, it rolls off the tongue so easily and quickly.

    So let’s translate 5 billion Rand to a meaningful measure for South Africans:

    One RDP house costs around R110 000 according to Google.

    So, theft of 5 billion rand translates into forty five thousand, four hundred and fifty four RDP homes.

    Which means that there are 45, 454 South African families who are deprived of owning their own home and who will continue to live in shacks / on the street as a direct result.

    Yes, that’s 45, 454 families homeless.

    • Johann Olivier says:

      Excellent point, Mr. Rocker. Additional billion comments. At a salary of R1 000 000, it would take 1 000 years (simple arithmetic) to earn ONE billion. If one spends that much at the rate of R1 every second – EVERY second – it would take 31 years to spend R1 billion! And, finally, ONE billion minutes equals 1 900 years. Let’s not forget, it’s FIVE billion we’re so casually talking about.

  • David Pennington says:

    Never mind the fund just import tradesmen like we used to

  • Libby De Villiers says:

    Where did these hyenas not steal?
    Why does it take so long to find out?
    Why another commission?
    Ai, Cyril. And the you thought you were going to Japan. Think again my man, the chickens are coming home to roost. Nobody wants to be friends with a loser.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    Cyril’s head must be spinning from all these investigations! No wonder he couldn’t make it to the G7 summit…he’s just too giddy!

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