The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has recovered over R33 million from Northlink College in the Western Cape as part of its probe into the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) finances.
In August, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed Proclamation R88 of 2022, authorising the SIU to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration. To also retrieve any financial losses suffered by the State.
This is the first State money recovered since signing the Proclamation.
On Tuesday, SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the technical college informed them of receiving R33 489 884.37 from the financial scheme that was not allocated to students between 2017 and 2021, and had invested it without authorisation.
“The TVET college stated to the SIU that it is fully aware that the funds should have been returned to NSFAS, but Northlink College has failed to do so, and instead decided to invest the funds and would return the funds on request from NSFAS,” said Kganyago.
Kganyago said they will calculate the interest earned from the investment and will be transferred into the SIU Trust account.
The overdue investigation into the maladministration of funds meant to fund poor students is in two folds, the management of NSFAS’s finances and the allocation of loans, bursaries and any other funding payable to students.
The conduct of NSFAS officials will also be looked into.
“The SIU is also probing any unlawful or improper conduct by employees or officials of NSFAS or the service providers in question, their employees or any other person or entity.
“The proclamation covers allegations of unlawful and improper conduct that took place between 1 April 2016 and 26 August 2022, the date of the publication of the Proclamation, or before 1 April 2016,” said the SIU in a statement.
During the Bloemfontein NSFAS summit held in October, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande said he roped in the SIU to also look into students who defrauded them.
Compiled by Kgomotso Phooko