DHET MUST INVESTIGATE THE R14 MILLION NSFAS PAYMENT SAGA, AS INTELLIMALI PROVIDES NO CLARITY, SAYS COMMITTEE

The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training has called for the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) to urgently conduct a forensic investigation into how R14 million was erroneously paid to a Walter Sisulu University student earlier this year.

The Committee's call follows the completion of an investigation into the matter by Intellimali, a company tasked by the university to distribute funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Ms Connie September, said it was critical that the Department of Higher Education and Training conduct this investigation as the principal entity receiving the funding.

The report from Intellimali is still unable to identify the source of the error and does not even say how the error occurred. This is concerning to the Committee, as it is tasked with approving budget for the department, Ms September said.

As the report stands, it is of no use to the Committee and yet R14 million was paid out, over R800 000 of which was embezzled on cellphones, hair and expensive wines. The Department should get involved and prepare a report for the Committee early in 2018, preferably before the end of January, Ms September said.

Intellimali's report states: The source code relating to the file upload process reflected the values (R1400) contained in the source upload file and not the actual value (R14 million) deposited into the Intellicard of the student.

Ms September said it was disappointing that the Committee had not been informed of the steps taken against those people who allegedly supplied the goods.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa