The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union wants the Minister in charge of Higher Education to fire NSFAS Administrator, Randall Carolissen, as they lay allegations of corruption and maladministration against him.
Carolissen has run the institution into the ground, said Nehawu at a meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Friday.
Philly Mapulane who is the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee said:
Our way forward is that we need a follow up meeting where we’ll be receiving detailed responses for the specific allegations being made because this allegations are quite serious.
Mapulane continued to say that what they received from NSFAS was a bit more general and that the specificity of these allegations call for a session where responses will be given to the questions raised by the union.
Some of the allegations come from NSFAS employees and involves the misleading of Parliament which the Portfolio Committee regards as a grave allegation. On this, Mapulane said, “the allegations are that the Administrator on three occasions has mislead Parliament.”
The three occasions, according to Nehawu, are as follows:
The Administrator gave an impression to Parliament that he was the one responsible for the termination of the VPS Mutual Bank contract when in actual fact, the contract was terminated by the previous board.
The Administrator created an impression that NSFAS has moved away from the voucher system to the eWallet system but the Union says these two operating platforms work on the same system and that it is not true when NSFAS said they’ve moved away from the SBux.
The reasons given by the Administrator for the delay in the tabling of the annual report last year were false and that when the Administrator blamed the Auditor-General, it was actually because they hired someone who was not competent and had to revert back to the employees who done it for years
The trade union’s Western Cape provincial secretary, Eric Kweleta spoke to eNCA and said, “The arrival of the Administrator, Dr Randall Carolissen, really presented hope for us because we thought that he’s going to fix things as the appointment of him was really to turn around the institution”.
However, the Union is then said to have seen that two years after his appointment, NSFAS is far worse than it was back then and is characterised by corruption, maladministration and that Carolissen has “arrogance” and “victimises employees” and never had the intention to turn NSFAS around.
Nehawu engaged with Carolissen when his term was extended where they agreed on a process to correct things. After that, Nehawu says, “we’ve never had any engagement with him” and that “he’s just been ducking and diving every time we wanted to meet with him”.
Kweleta stated the following during the interview:
The Minister must really let him go as soon as possible and ensure that one, there’s a board that is established in that institution and there’s a CEO that is employed because as we speak, this is the only hope of the children of the working class
He also said that NSFAS has no policies in place.
The Portfolio Committee met with Carolissen on Friday where he prepared responses to the questions and allegations and he acknowledges that the responses were not covering the specific allegations which were raised.
When asked about the Administrator’s response, Mapulane answered:
We agreed that we must give him enough time to go and look at those allegations to go and prepare detailed responses. In the next two weeks, we will schedule another meeting.
Nehawu is also questioning the relationship between the Higher Education Minister and Carolissen and the Committee’s response to this is that they haven’t gone into that allegation as Mapulane says, “They were saying on Friday, there was a person that has been appointed at NSFAS and that person used to work with the Minister before and that in their view constitutes some improper relationship”.
The Committee has not received a response to that question and will receive responses in the next two weeks and deal with the matter.
Mapulane further commented:
We have got no reason to believe that there is that improper relationship between the Minister and the NSFAS Administrator … There are issues that we need to isolate … We will need to engage the Minister of Higher Education because it will be unfair that we come to conclusions without engaging with him.
The Union said that under Carolissen’s watch, he’s allowed NSFAS to be marred by corruption, maladministration and the victimisation of employees.
Nehawu previously laid charges against the CEO and previous board of NSFAS regarding maladministration and corruption.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé