Minister Blade Nzimande on Walter Sisulu University student allowance debacle

Minister Nzimande condemns Walter Sisulu University student allowance debacle and demands stern action
The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, has condemned in the strongest terms the erroneous payment in June this year of R14.1 million into the account of a Walter Sisulu University (WSU) student whose studies are being financed by Government.
This grave error, apparently by a service provider at the university, occurred during a payment run to 3 500 students at the institution who are supported by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). This resulted in the student in question spending R818 000 before the slip-up was picked up in early August.
“This debacle is wholly unacceptable and serious action should be taken against all those responsible as soon as all the facts of the matter are established.
In this light, I have instructed NSFAS, supported by officials from the Department to urgently get to the bottom of the matter, with a view of ensuring that wherever the problems may lie, this will never be repeated again,” he said.
The Minister added that such debacles not only prejudices students who are deserving of grant support, they also posed a grave danger to the credibility of the country’s education system, as well as Government’s commitment to fund poor and middle class students.
“We simply cannot afford these kinds of blunders involving tax payers’ money, whether they occur wittingly or unwittingly. This is why I am calling for a thorough investigation to establish the facts so that there is consequence management for those found responsible.
Government is doing its best – within limited resources – to source funding to support children of all poor, working and middle class families in their quest to better their lives through skills acquisition”.
It has been confirmed that the WSU student involved erroneously received R14.1 million in her IntelliCard account, resulting in her spending R818 000 of this money.
The Chief Executive of IntelliMali, Michael Ansell – the service provider who manages the allocation of funds at WSU – has confirmed that they are taking legal action against the student. But this is not enough, the company must also deal with responsible employees.
In a statement yesterday (Wednesday), NSFAS said it had paid WSU its total budget for the university to disburse allowances to its NSFAS funded students.
“The university does this using its own processes, systems and service providers without the involvement of NSFAS,” it said, adding that it had since requested WSU to furnish it with a report on the payment debacle.

Source: Government of South Africa

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