IR­REG­U­LAR ap­point­ments at Ns­fas

Job posts and ten­ders have been dis­puted by the ad­min­is­tra­tor of the fi­nan­cial aid body

CityPress - - News - MSINDISI FENGU msindisi.fengu@city­press.co.za IN DEEP

Acon­fi­den­tial re­port filed by the Na­tional Stu­dent Fi­nan­cial Aid Scheme (Ns­fas) in Par­lia­ment has con­firmed that ir­reg­u­lar ap­point­ments have been made un­der the watch of ad­min­is­tra­tor Dr Ran­dall Carolis­sen. The re­port was sub­mit­ted by Ns­fas to the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on higher ed­u­ca­tion, sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy af­ter these al­le­ga­tions were made by the Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion, Health and Al­lied Work­ers’ Union (Ne­hawu).

This comes af­ter a com­plaint filed by United Demo­cratic Move­ment leader Bantu Holomisa to the of­fice of Public Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane in July re­lat­ing to al­le­ga­tions of nepo­tism, racism and mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion in Ns­fas.

Com­mit­tee chair­per­son Philly Ma­pu­lane told mem­bers dur­ing a meet­ing on Fri­day that Carolis­sen had al­legedly asked for the re­port to be kept con­fi­den­tial be­cause it con­tained de­tails of the im­pli­cated per­sons.

The re­port had not been shared with com­mit­tee mem­bers.

How­ever, Ma­pu­lane over­ruled Carolis­sen’s con­fi­den­tial­ity re­quest, stat­ing that there were no de­tails in the re­port be­sides the names of those im­pli­cated. Those in­di­vid­u­als, he said, would be given an op­por­tu­nity to re­spond within seven days.

He then re­ferred to three ex­am­ples of ap­point­ments that Ns­fas had ac­knowl­edged were ir­reg­u­lar.

An ex­change en­sued as Carolis­sen at­tempted to deny that the ap­point­ments were ir­reg­u­lar on the ba­sis that the man­agers in­volved had been rep­ri­manded.

“Since the names of the in­di­vid­u­als have been men­tioned, I want to re­tract my con­fi­den­tial­ity on that par­tic­u­lar is­sue,” said Carolis­sen.

“In the ex­am­ples you’ve quoted of when an ir­reg­u­lar ap­point­ment was made by a man­ager, a sub­se­quent cor­rec­tive ac­tion has been taken.

“[The ap­point­ment can there­fore not be viewed] as ir­reg­u­lar be­cause the board have sat­is­fied them­selves that the nec­es­sary ac­tion was taken and the man­ager was rep­ri­manded.

‘That hap­pens on a daily ba­sis in any or­gan­i­sa­tion – cer­tainly in any or­gan­i­sa­tions I’ve worked in. If such trans­gres­sions hap­pened, they were dealt with, so they can’t con­tinue to be [listed] as ir­reg­u­lar,” said Carolis­sen. How­ever, Ma­pu­lane was un­fazed and pointed out that the re­port had been com­piled by Ns­fas it­self.

“I don’t want us to deny things that are the re­sponse of Ns­fas. Ns­fas ac­knowl­edges that these [ap­point­ments] are ir­reg­u­lar. That’s not my for­mu­la­tion – it’s Ns­fas’ for­mu­la­tion. But now I hear you say­ing, ‘No, no, they’re not ir­reg­u­lar’, when there’s ac­knowl­edge­ment in the doc­u­ment that they are in­deed ir­reg­u­lar,” said Ma­pu­lane.

Carolis­sen then said he did not want to seem eva­sive. “If we [Ns­fas] say it was ir­reg­u­lar, then I’ll stand by our re­port. I’m just try­ing to ex­plain ac­tions we took. I stand cor­rected if it ap­pears as if I’m try­ing to play with words. I’ll have a look at this re­port one more time and also pro­vide you with fur­ther de­tails,” he said.

MIS­LEAD­ING PAR­LIA­MENT?

Dur­ing the de­lib­er­a­tions, Ne­hawu also al­leged that Carolis­sen had mis­led Par­lia­ment when he pre­sented in­for­ma­tion last year that he had can­celled a con­tract that was awarded by the pre­vi­ous Ns­fas board and man­age­ment to the now de­funct VBS Mu­tual Bank and Stan­dard Bank for dis­burse­ment of funds to ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

Kag­isho Mam­abolo tes­ti­fied on be­half of Ne­hawu dur­ing the pro­ceed­ings that Carolis­sen had mis­led the com­mit­tee.

He cited three al­leged in­ci­dents, in­clud­ing the ten­der awarded to VBS and Stan­dard Bank.

The other two al­le­ga­tions have yet to be ver­i­fied. Re­gard­ing the VBS and Stan­dard Bank ten­der, Mam­abolo said: “The plan was to have the pre­sen­ta­tion done by Carolis­sen, sup­ported by his ad­vis­ers, but on that day, Carolis­sen [sud­denly] asked me to do half the pre­sen­ta­tion. So it was ba­si­cally he and I who made the pre­sen­ta­tion.

“Luck­ily, some of the is­sues in the pre­sen­ta­tion were things I was fa­mil­iar with, so I could talk about them. But it was very un­com­fort­able to be asked on the spot to make a pre­sen­ta­tion to mem­bers of Par­lia­ment. If I re­mem­ber cor­rectly, DA MP Bax­o­lile No­dada asked a ques­tion in re­la­tion to VBS. The re­sponse from the ad­min­is­tra­tor [Carolis­sen] at the time was that he had re­versed the de­ci­sion of VBS.”

In his re­sponse to Mam­abolo, Carolis­sen said he had tried to be truth­ful and had dou­ble-checked in­for­ma­tion he was pro­vided with to present in Par­lia­ment.

“I did not mis­lead Par­lia­ment and if I was found to be, I’d like to be [told how I was mis­lead­ing]. I was think­ing very hard about the is­sue of VBS, try­ing to rec­ol­lect the in­ci­dent Mam­abolo re­ferred to. He is cor­rect, but where I dif­fer with him is on what was pre­sented in Par­lia­ment. It should be fairly easy to check up on ex­actly what was pre­sented,” said Carolis­sen.

“I was very clear in my mind that the pre­vi­ous board had dealt with the VBS part of the ten­der, so when I ar­rived, the out­stand­ing part of the ten­der was Stan­dard Bank, be­cause it was a joint award.”

Ma­pu­lane said that, in the two re­ports that were sub­mit­ted to the com­mit­tee last year, Carolis­sen stated that he had ter­mi­nated the VBS and Stan­dard Bank ten­der, cit­ing the vi­o­la­tion of the Public Fi­nance Man­age­ment Act as his rea­son for do­ing so.

“These re­ports sug­gest that the ad­min­is­tra­tor can­celled the VBS and Stan­dard Bank con­tracts which were con­cluded in vi­o­la­tion of the act. I take it that we need to fol­low up [on other al­le­ga­tions]. But, cer­tainly on the VBS and Stan­dard Bank is­sue, there’s no need to fol­low up be­cause this in­for­ma­tion states that the ad­min­is­tra­tor did can­cel the ten­der. If it wasn’t the ad­min­is­tra­tor who can­celled the VBS con­tract, then we have a prob­lem, be­cause here it says that that’s what hap­pened.

“This is in­for­ma­tion that was given to us not on one oc­ca­sion, but on two oc­ca­sions. I thought we could dis­pense with it quickly. How­ever, we have to fol­low up and find out the facts, be­cause pre­sent­ing mis­lead­ing in­for­ma­tion to Par­lia­ment is a very se­ri­ous of­fence,” said Ma­pu­lane.

Kag­isho Mam­abolo, gen­eral man­ager: cor­po­rate ser­vices at Ns­fas, protests at the Ns­fas of­fices in Cape Town

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.