A National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) administrator has been accused of meddling with an employees’ pension fund in a bid to get rid of black managers.
He was also accused of nepotism and racism which has rocked NFSAS.
Randall Carolissen is said to have redirected R8million to use it to hire new staff and conduct forensic investigations.
An insider has detailed how suspensions were being used to carry out a “a purge of black excellence”.
“Some of the employees have been suspended for three months now, while others have returned. A few workers have been given an extended precautionary suspension. A couple more are still suspended pending the finalisation of their disciplinary cases,” the worker said.
The employee said that in a recent case, three black female employees – including one who was pregnant – were arrested for alleged fraud. They were released on bail and when they returned to work they were made to write statements on what happened.
“It cannot be proper that the employer lays charges against you then only afterwards they want you to give a statement,” the worker added.
It was alleged that some of the money meant for re-prioritisation would go to consultants who earned up to R500000 for 70 days work. Some were said to be accommodated at Cape Town hotels at a cost of R21000 a month. “Another adviser is a former Sars (SA Revenue Service) executive; he is the highest paid at around R2million for the contract. What is interesting is that they are getting rid of black workers through suspensions and by introducing more coloured and Indian advisers who have a relationship of some sort with Carolissen,” said the worker.
Carolissen said: “The gazetted terms of reference provides for the administrator to appoint a team of advisers. Appointments were done with the concurrence of the minister and to this end all governance had been adhered to.”
Carolissen added that the entity currently had two female executives who were black and coloured and therefore met with the equity guidelines. “As part of the terms of the second administration, the administrator is required to oversee the process of appointing new executive staff at NSFAS.
“The scheme has already advertised the position of chief executive and will soon advertise the rest of the executive positions,” he said.
Carolissen denied that money from the pension fund would be used for filling of vacancies and for forensic investigations.
“A forensic investigation by its very nature is confidential and NSFAS will not divulge any information pertaining to it,” he said.
The Department of Higher Education had not responded to attempts to get comment at the time of publication.