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NSFAS CEO fired by board over student payment irregularities and conflicts of interest

NSFAS CEO fired by board over student payment irregularities and conflicts of interest
Andile Nongogo has been fired as CEO of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. (Photo: Supplied)

NSFAS board chairperson Ernest Khosa told Parliament that Andile Nongogo has been dismissed from the entity. Nongogo had been in the firing line over a conflict of interest in the appointment of service providers, which were meant to distribute allowances to funded students. 

Andile Nongogo has been fired as the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) CEO. The board fired him on Monday evening. 

This was revealed by board chairperson Ernest Khosa in Parliament on Tuesday morning as the NSFAS briefed Parliament’s public accounts committee on investigations currently underway at the aid scheme. 

Making opening remarks, Khosa jumped straight to the situation of Nongogo: “I should make the committee aware that last night the board of NSFAS took a decision to terminate the contract of the CEO”. 

Khosa said this was based on a breach of policy as well as a “breach” of trust. 

Nongogo had been placed on special leave since August, following an Outa investigation that implicated him in wrongdoing in the appointment of service providers that are meant to distribute funded students’ allowances for essentials such as food, hygiene products and transport.

Nongogo had been in the firing line with the agency since last week, when the board had given him seven days to give reasons why he should not be fired, following investigations that there was a conflict of interest in the appointment of companies contracted to distribute funds to students. 

Ernest Khoza, Blade Nzimande, NSFAS

The Chairperson of National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) Ernest Khoza (right) handing over a report to Minister Blade Nzimande on allegations against Andile Nongogo, on 17 October, 2023. (Photo: Facebook/ DHET)

Read more in Daily Maverick: NSFAS CEO Andile Nongogo faces axe after ‘conflict of interest’ in appointment of payment providers

Investigations were conducted by Werksmans Attorneys and advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC in August 2023. Their report found the appointment of a technical advisor to the Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC) was irregular as well as a possible relationship between Nongogo and three service providers. 

Nongogo was not present in Parliament on Tuesday. Daily Maverick is in the process of reaching out to him. If he comments, we will add it here. 

In July, students were left without allowances for essentials such as food and transport, as service providers must distribute funding to students on time. This has led to protests countrywide by students, including a march to Parliament. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: NSFAS boss placed on leave after students protest against direct banking system outside Parliament

At the weekend, Nongogo told City Press that his suspension was linked to lucrative offtake agreements between companies that he claimed were handpicked, allegedly by a senior government official and the aid scheme’s board chair, Khosa.

Khosa dismissed the allegations via an NSFAS statement said: “If it is indeed true that it comes from him, I am utterly disappointed. The bottom line is that there are serious findings and recommendations against him which cannot be wished away by involving distant distractions,” said Khosa. 

“These findings emanate largely from an Outa investigation and confirmed by Werksman attorneys and Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC.” DM

Additional reporting by Chuma Nontsele 

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