The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has confirmed and welcomed the arrest of three employees following allegations of fraud relating to student allowances.
The employees from the Wynberg Office were all arrested on Tuesday on allegations of fraud relating to diverting student allowances to their personal accounts.
Since NSFAS was put under Administration in August 2018, as part of his Terms of Reference, NSFAS Administrator Dr Randall Carolissen instituted a number of forensic investigations relating to the general disbursement of student funds, student allowance, leakage of sensitive and confidential information, and human resources related issues.
“It has come to the attention of NSFAS that there are people who are misrepresenting themselves, posing as NSFAS officials soliciting applicants to pay a sum of money in order to have their application processed or have access to application forms,” NSFAS said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
NSFAS said it is working with the authorities, who are investigating the matter.
NSFAS has warned all students applying for the 2020 funding to be careful in managing their accounts and stressed that NSFAS applications are free.
“The best way to apply for NSFAS funding is through your smartphone. If you are not able to apply or do not have a smartphone, you are safe to approach the National Youth Development Agency office, or the Vodacom Teacher Training and Development Centre for assistance.
“We have our people stationed there to help with the applications. We are also going out into rural areas, in partnerships with various provincial departments of education,” NSFAS said.
NSFAS has also set up a dedicated independent fraud hotline called Vuvuzela. Through the hotline, whistle blowers can report abuse, fraud, wastage and other cases of misconduct to NSFAS with comfort and confidence.
“We appeal to students, applicants, employees and community members to report any suspicious activity promptly on the fraud hotline. All calls are kept strictly confidential and callers may remain anonymous.”
To report any fraud, please call Toll free number 0860 247 653, SMS “Call-back” to 30916, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more details on how you can report, please visit www.thehotine.co.za.
NSFAS said it is working with the authorities, who are investigating the arrest of three employees.
The scheme has also reassured the public that the arrest of the three employees will not have an impact on the 2020 applications cycle, which is expected to close on 30 November 2019.