South Africa: NSFAS CEO resigns

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Staff Reporter

The CEO of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), Steven Zwane, has resigned on the first day of his disciplinary hearing.

On Friday, NSFAS said in a statement that a “termination agreement” had been reached between Zwane and his employer.

His term came to an end on October 2, the organisation said.

In August, Inside Education reported that NSFAS suspended its executive officer Steven Zwane with immediate effect. The suspension followed allegations of maladministration against Zwane.

At the time, NSFAS spokesperson Kagisho Mamabolo said Zwane was relieved from his duties pending the outcome of the investigation. The suspension was carried out to ensure fairness and allow the process to proceed uninhibited.
Zwane’s suspension came two weeks after Sizwe Nxasana,  NSFAS’ former chairperson resigned.

At the time, Nxasana said: “While the last few years have been extremely challenging, I am grateful for the opportunity to have been able to immerse myself in education and contribute to finding sustainable solutions for the higher education sector. I am passionate about helping our youth access education and want to recognise the many thousands of students whose success inspire all of us and give us hope for the future.”

He added that former president Jacob Zuma’s announcement in 2016 that government would subsidise higher education for poor and working-class students.

However, the calls for  both Nxasana and Zwane to resign were pushed by student organisations and some unions.

The South African Students’ Congress (Sasco) called on Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor to fire Zwane over “inefficiencies and lack of leadership” after NSFAS halted 2019 applications that were expected to commence on August 1 due to payment backlogs from 2017 and 2018.

In July, the National Health and Education Workers’ Union also called for Zwane’s head as well as that of Sizwe Nxasana, claiming that Zwane — a former chief operating officer at Barclays Africa — was hired illegitimately. The union accused Zwane of nepotism and demanded his resignation.

 

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