Student accommodation ‘mafia’ a threat to higher education sector - NSFAS
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) said the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) identified a student accommodation 'mafia' that was threatening to destabilise the entire higher education sector.
CAPE TOWN - The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) said the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) identified a student accommodation "mafia" that was threatening to destabilise the entire higher education sector.
NSFAS chairperson, Ernest Khosa, said that these organised groups could be found in the student accommodation sector, where they "connive" with service providers.
Khosa and NSFAS briefed Parliament's finance watchdog, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), on Tuesday about the SIU's investigations into student funding and fraud at the entity.
The SIU told Scopa that NSFAS paid just over R5 billion in bursaries to 40,000 unqualifying students.
The student financial aid scheme said it was not just facing a financial threat, but also a security threat from a “mafia” threatening the entire sector.
“The SIU has been able to identify some problems that are threatening the security of the sector as a whole, which are the mafias in our student accommodation areas, conniving and fraud among accommodation providers,” said NSFAS chairperson Ernest Khosa.
He said CEO Andile Nongogo was also receiving threatening messages.
“We saw threatening SMSes directed at the CEO of NSFAS by people who are worried about our new accommodation policies.”
But Khosa commended the SIU for shedding light on the challenges in the sector as it continues its investigations into various fraudulent activities.