Special Investigation Department (SIU) has confirmed that it has been authorized to investigate allegations of corruption and mismanagement under the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

President Cyril Ramphosa has authorized an investigation by the SIU, which will look into the management of NSFAS’s finances, as well as the distribution of loans, bursaries and any other funding paid to students.

“The proclamation covers allegations of illegal and improper conduct that took place,” SIU spokesman Kaiser Kganyaga said. statement on Friday.

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Kganyaga also said the conduct of NSFAS officials would also be looked into.

“The SIU will also investigate any illegal or improper conduct by NSFAS staff or officials or relevant service providers, their employees or any other person or entity,” he added.

In addition, the SIU will seek to recover any monies lost to the State as a result of any wrongdoing at NSFAS and will refer any evidence of criminal conduct to the National Prosecuting Authority (NGO) for further action, this is according to Kganyago.

The investigative unit previously launched an investigation into NSFAS and the affairs of Central Johannesburg College (CJC) in April 2021.

Irregular expenses

In March 2020, it was revealed that mismanagement at NSFAS had led to irregular expenditure totaling R7.5 billion in 2017 and 2018.

NSFAS administrator Dr Randall Koralisen, who has faced allegations of nepotism and mismanagement, told Parliament’s Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sport, Arts and Culture at the time that up to R2 billion would not be repaid.

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As a result, several officials who were found to be involved in fraud and corruption – involving fake student accounts and the funding of inappropriate courses – were arrested and fired, while some cases were referred to the SIU for further investigation.

It also led to an investigation by the Office of the Public Protector after receiving eight complaints about irregular expenses incurred by NSFAS.

Sibongile Mani

Earlier this year, Sibongile Mani was found guilty of theft by East London District Court and sentenced to five years in prison.

Mani is a student at Walter Sisulu University (WSU) who received over R14 million in her student account from NSFAS and spent over R800 000 of it.

NSFAS paid WSU 14 million rand for the first time.

The university then transferred the money to Intellimali, which was responsible for providing monthly food and book stipends to more than 18,000 students.

After the money was in her account, she splurged with her friends and bought 11 blankets, sheets, men’s shorts, alcohol, cigarettes, 24 jackets and handbags.

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