NSFAS CEO Resigns On First Day Of Disciplinary Hearing

Former National Student Financial Aid Student CEO Steven Zwane. PICTURE: Supplied by NSFAS

JOHANNESBURG: The CEO of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), Steven Zwane, has resigned on the first day of his disciplinary hearing.

On Friday, NSFAS said in a statement that a “termination agreement” had been reached between Zwane and his employer.

His term came to an end on October 2, the organisation said.

On August 28, the Mail & Guardian reported that Zwane had been suspended with immediate effect, following allegations of maladministration. This was reportedly weeks after former chairperson Sizwe Nxasana resigned.

Nxasana said the organisation was not in crisis but there were challenges, specifically related to former president Jacob Zuma’s announcement in 2016 that government would subsidise higher education for poor and working-class students.

“Since December 2016, the NSFAS mandate and funding obligations increased exponentially, placing extreme strain on the organisation’s systems and processes,” he said at the time.

On August 11, a spokesperson for the Department of Higher Education and Training said that the board had agreed to appoint an administrator following Nxasana’s resignation.

NFSAS has kept applications for 2019 on hold in the interim, as it tries to sort out funding to be given out for 2017 and 2018.

The Mail & Guardian also reported that on August 21, former minister of higher education and training Naledi Pandor dissolved the NSFAS board and appointed Dr Randall Carolissen as administrator. Pandor reportedly said at the time that “failures and delays” in approving and disbursing funding “have had a serious effect on undermining the effective functioning of the entity”.

The National Union of Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) called for the resignations of Nxasana and Zwane in August, according to Eyewitness News, blaming them for the backlogs in administering funds to students.