Dubious Dealings at National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)
I recently received disturbing information from a whistle-blower that shows serious alleged wastage of money at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) this whilst students are not getting paid in time and others are denied the opportunity to access much needed funds at all. The below are all the allegations:
NSFAS recently moved to another building using a turn-key solution, from a building where the rent had been R500,000 per month, to one where the rent now apparently is R1,968,647.05 per month. This is a massive increase in expenditure, and I have been informed that many offices in the new building remain unused, which is again tantamount to wasteful expenditure.
NSFAS had, however, paid the rental amount of R1,968,647.05 per month (see attached example invoice — Annexure A) for office space they had not yet used from December 2021 to September 2022. If my calculations are correct this is a whopping wastage of R19,686,470,50.
It was wasteful expenditure in another sense, since much of this period fell in the Covid-19 lockdown and the staff were working from home in any event and there was no rush to occupy the new building.
However, strangely enough, since NSFAS had moved out of their old building and their new building was not yet ready, they had also for a period of time rented space at the Rockefeller Hotel to conduct their business. So, whilst they were blowing R1,968,647.05 per month on an unusable office space, they in essence doubled-up their expenses.
As I understand It, It cost R6,679,259.79 to fit out the new building (see attached Invoice -Annexure 8) as it was on empty shell when NSFAS decided to make use of It. This is Just one example of the costs it took for NSFAS to occupy the building in this turn-key solution, for a detailed summary of the budget in terms of construction, building services, funiture, joinery and appliances, as well as IT infrastructure, please see Annexure C.
Apparently NSFAS also bought new furniture for this office space to the tune of millions of rands, rather than using the furniture from their former offices.
The owner of the building is overseas, yet the tender was fronted by a local person In the name of Mr Bheki Diamini of Dynamic SA Holding (Ply) Ltd T/A Dynamic SA and the managing agent hails from Pietermaritzburg – which begs certain questions.
The NSFAS Board had also approved an additional R15 million as a lease contract variation that needs to be investigated. (See attached letter – Annexure D)
There is an additional point that needs to be investigated i.e., the request from the Chief Executive Officer to the NSFAS Board to extend the lease agreement that will lock NSFAS Into this dubious lease agreement for an additional period (see attached letter-Annexure E).
There has been a proclamation to investigate NSFAS, but as I understand it no-one has yet met with the employees who reported the maladministration.
The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education is also seized with an investigation into NSFAS, and It would be of interest to know how far they have come In their process.
I would like to request that the Hawks and the Special Investigating Unit take an interest in these allegations and investigate them.
Yours sincerely. Mr amiss, MP Pre of the United Democratic Movement