The Special Investigative Unit (SIU) on Friday announced it now has authorisation to investigate corruption and maladministration allegations within the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas).
They said President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised an investigation into the affairs of the Central Johannesburg College (CJC).
The SIU will also be able to recover any financial losses suffered by the State, Ramaphosa said.
The SIU has been authorised to investigate NSFAS @myNSFAS bursary and allowance funding administration and disbursement at the Central Johannesburg Technical and Vocational Education and Training College. #KnowYourSIU pic.twitter.com/64kXkSHXIF
— Special Investigating Unit (SIU) (@RSASIU) April 16, 2021
The SIU said the proclamation authorises it to “unleash all its legislative powers to subpoena bank statements and cellphone records, search and seize evidence, and interrogate witnesses under oath in a quest to hold those responsible to account for their actions.”
“The investigation will cover transactions that took place between 1 January 2017 and 16 April 2021, and transactions that either took place before January 2017 or after 16 April 2021 but relevant to, connected with same persons, entities or contracts being investigated,” the unit said.
The SIU received allegations of corruption and maladministration from a whistleblower and prepared a motivation for a proclamation authorising corruption busting.
Nsfas feeling the heat
Acting public protector Kholeka Gcaleka announced last month that Nsfas would be under investigation by the Office of the Public Protector.
This comes after R7 billion in irregular expenditure was alleged to have been uncovered.
The public protector’s office had received eight complainants concerning Nsfas last year.
Nsfas has come under fire for failing to assist students due to its lack of ability to raise funds, recover loans, disburse the correct amount of money to students, and delayed disbursements.
Among the institutions that Gcaleka will visit are the University of Free State, Tshwane University of Technology, Unisa, and some Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges across the country