Members of Parliament’s Higher Education and Training Committee say an inquiry must be instituted into the operations of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). This after hearing of alleged several irregular appointments of friends and acquaintances of the administrator of the scheme.
Staff members have told MPs that some of them were placed on suspension, while people were appointed without the necessary qualifications or positions were created for them.
Members of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), Kagisho Mamabolo, Malikah Hildebrandt, Marlene Bosset, Vuyokazi Dwane and Gilbert Muvavarirwa raised the concerns to MPs about the alleged mismanagement against the administrator of the scheme, Randall Carolissen. Among them, that he had appointed relatives or friends, who did not necessarily have the skills or qualifications and that no proper procedure was followed.
“We are not an angry or upset group, we want to move forward. want our skills to be valued, not only now when there is trouble. Things are not the rosy picture painted here today. You can do a forensic investigation of my phone, you will see instruction from the administrator to interview people. I have some people who admitted they were friends with administrators. This was an era of a predetermined outcome. Whether in DC or appointments. Some of these outcomes were sucked out of people’s thumbs. Let me tell you of this culture of fear. So many things happened, I couldn’t even talk to a colleague who told me that the boardroom is bugged. Why I ask?”
Carolissen admitted that some of these people were his friends. But he says he was always under the impression that proper procedure was followed.
“If you qualify for a post you can surely apply? These people are not my family members, there has been no personal benefit to me at all.”
Chairperson of the committee, Philly Mapulane, described the situation as a horror.
“This is a horrible, terrible picture. Very depressing, don’t know if all of you colluded for all of you to come and say this but the picture is not good. I am horrified. The unanimous view must be an inquiry, a forensic investigation, must be a consideration whether criminal offence committed so can be referred to relevant law enforcement agencies.”
Carolissen has denied intimidating any staff member for blowing the whistle or that the offices were bugged. A follow-up meeting is planned for a more detailed explanation of the allegations.