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The chairperson of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) board, Ernest Khosa, is taking a leave of absence following corruption allegations.
Civil organization OUTA released a report implicating Khosa, Minister Blade Nzimande and the SACP in financial mismanagement and kickbacks at NSFAS. In response, Khosa announced his leave at a special board meeting about preparations for 2024.
NSFAS spokesperson Ismail Mnisi said Khosa wants to enable the board to address the allegations from the OUTA recordings. Khosa maintained he never received personal financial gratification.
The board will appoint an independent legal firm to investigate the veracity of claims against Khosa, Mnisi said.
The move aims to promote objective scrutiny of the alleged misconduct without interference. Khosa stepping aside will prevent perceptions of the board whitewashing findings.
Critics have decried years of ballooning student funding scandals under the ANC government. They say NSFAS leadership has failed students through misappropriation and dysfunctional administration.
Khosa’s leave of absence comes amid pressure from opposition parties and student groups to dissolve the entire board. They cite chronic failures warranting complete leadership change.
But NSFAS believes an independent probe and cooperating with authorities can restore public trust. The scheme remains focused on preparations for 2024 student funding undeterred by critics.
Only the investigation’s outcome will determine Khosa’s future role. For now, his exit temporarily lends credibility to the process, even as stakeholders demand broader accountability.
The coming months will judge whether NSFAS can reform from within or requires a systemic overhaul. But Khosa’s leave marks an early step toward potentially cleansing leadership and setting a new course.