Employees at the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), affiliated with National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) have planned an urgent strike action, anticipated to start on Monday.
NSFAS strike anticipated not to impact 2020 academic applications
Workers at the financial aid scheme have expressed that negotiations have not been successful, as management has failed to address grievances about working conditions over the past years, according to Cape Talk radio, Nehawu has 80% of NSFAS employees belonging to its union.
The workers are upset about the non-payment of bonuses and allege victimisation by executives, and staff affiliated to Nehawu will issue a memorandum to Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande; in attempts to have their issues heard and the strike is reported not to disrupt students applying for financial aid for the 2020 academic year.
“We are embarking on strike after numerous engagements with management. We have reached a deadlock after numerous engagements, hence we are going to strike on Monday.”
Eric Kweleta, Nehawu Provincial Secretary
Three financial aid employees have been arrested for fraud
In early October, three NSFAS employees have been arrested on allegations of fraud at the Wynberg office, related to diverting student allowances to their bank accounts, and NSFAS has confirmed to be working with authorities, who are tasked with further investigation of this fraud issue that continues to plague the entity.
Forensic investigations have been tasked since the financial aid was put under administration in August 2018, and these investigations were set apart to further probe the “missing funds”, leakage of confidential information, student allowances and issues relating to human resources.
“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 would like to caution all students applying for the 2020 funding to be careful in managing their accounts. We want to stress that NSFAS applications are free.”
NSFAS has a fraud hotline to report fraudulent crimes and misconduct
The independent fraud hotline established by NSFAS is called Vuvuzela, and through the hotline, whistleblowers can report fraud, abuse from staff, wastage and other cases of misconduct experienced.
“We appeal to students, applicants, employees and community members to report any suspicious activity promptly on fraud hotline. All calls are kept strictly confidential and callers may remain anonymous.”