The end of the road for NSFAS CEO Andile Nongogo
OUTA is delighted with the NSFAS board’s decision to terminate the employment of Andile Nongogo as CEO. This follows the recommendations made in a report by Werksmans Attorneys and Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, who were commissioned by the Board to investigate the allegations of irregularities with the tender process.
In August this year, OUTA warned that Nongogo should not be allowed near the public purse after our investigation into his term as CEO at the Services SETA (SSETA). Our investigation showed that Nongogo signed off on payments for goods and services delivered to SSETA as part of an extremely overpriced rebranding campaign that cost taxpayers R37 million. OUTA also reported Nongogo’s conduct to the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and laid a criminal complaint with the SAPS against him relating to a tender at the Services SETA. See here.
Werksmans investigation followed on our investigation and subsequent warnings about the way in which the NSFAS direct payment scheme was implemented under Nongogo’s leadership as CEO. OUTA started exposing the irregularities as early as September 2022, and warned that the scheme is bound to not only fail, but that it will cost taxpayers millions with underprivileged students becoming the ultimate victims of an ill-conceived, corrupt system. We continued our investigation, and issued a report in February this year. See here.
Unfortunately, OUTA’s warnings were initially ignored by NSFAS as well as the Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Blade Nzimande. Instead, NSFAS threatened OUTA with legal action and refused us access to documentation regarding the tender process. The payment scheme was implemented on 30 June 2023, resulting in thousands of students not being paid their allowances.
OUTA’s findings were vindicated by the Werksmans report, which recommended that Nongogo should be fired, the contracts with the four fintech companies terminated with immediate effect and disciplinary actions started against all those involved with pushing through the direct payment system.
Nongogo’s actions at NSFAS extends beyond the implementation of the direct payment system. Under his leadership, NSFAS also appointed Futgenx Technologies (a company that previously manufactured PPE) as an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) specialist tasked with developing a student calculation tool at a cost of over R4 million. The company is closely related to Coinvest, one of the direct payment partners. The contract with Futgenx was terminated because they could not produce the goods and services required by NSFAS, yet they were still paid over R3 million.
More on the criminal charges against Andile Nongogo is here.
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