The Minister of Higher Education, Dr Blade Nzimande, says he has nothing to hide.
He was responding to mounting calls for his axing following a NSFAS corruption scandal in which he is implicated.
Nzimande says he is not afraid and has thus voluntarily decided to subject himself to the relevant legal processes and ethics bodies of the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP).
Last week, OUTA released voice recordings, which reveal how service providers allegedly paid millions of rand in kickbacks to Nzimande, his party – the SACP and the chairperson of the NSFAS board, Ernest Khosa.
This was allegedly done in return for tenders and protection for the implicated service providers.
According to OUTA, a whistleblower shared two recordings of the alleged talks.
The Minister has rejected the claims as an attempt to frustrate NSFAS.
Nzimande says he views the allegations as reckless and largely based on gossip and are intended to undermine a smooth start to the 2024 academic year.
The Minister says he is planning an urgent meeting with the NSFAS board on Wednesday to deliberate over OUTA’s damning report.
Nzimande has also raised concerns over the reaction of some student organisations to the news.
The allegations against the collective leadership of the sector are grave and serious! And they must be tested in competent courts of law! Authorities must act with sheer expedition!
But besides these recent allegations and recordings, the reality is that Blade Nzimande along…
— Asive Dlanjwa | SASCO DSG (@AsiveDlanjwa) January 4, 2024
Meanwhile, DA leader John Steenhuisen has revealed that the party is preparing to press criminal charges against Nzimande.
Steenhuisen says the party also wants the NSFAS board to be declared delinquent.
“It is also a concerning trend that OUTA’s successive “investigative” reports are characterised by advocacy for business interest of some individuals and companies who might have unsuccessfully attempted to solicit business from NSFAS.”
OUTA’s report that’s in dispute comes amid concerns of the outstanding allowance payments of at least 20 000 NSFAS beneficiaries countrywide.
Written by: Nokwazi Qumbisa