The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has welcomed the resignation of board chairman of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) Sizwe Nxasana, saying it was opposed to his appointment three years ago.
Nxasana announced his resignation on Thursday, amidst increasing calls for him to step down.
Nehawu said it had been proven right in its stance against the former banking executive, accusing him of trying to increase state funding into NSFAS in order to establish an alternative student funding scheme called Ikusasa Student Funding Programme (ISFAP).
"The ISFAPS is an initiative of Nxasana meant to swallow NSFAS through a partnership with South African leading banks, namely Absa and Standard Bank," it said. charging that Nxasana never had any intention of fixing the struggling NSFAS.
"He did not even fundraise a single cent but operated with the funds from the department of higher education and training," it said.
Nxasana said the NSFAS payments system had come under extreme strain after then-president Jacob Zuma announced last December that students from poor families would receive free higher education.
"Him blaming the announcement of fee free education last year ... is simply lame and an attempt at cheap politics,” Nehawu said.
Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor said she had “sadly" accepted Nxasana's resignation and thanked him for what she called his outstanding leadership and contribution to NSFAS.
Earlier this week, the South African Union of Students (Saus) said Nxasana had failed to turn around the fortunes of the institution.
Saus said it was campaigning for the dissolution of the current NSFAS board over a string of problems which saw thousands of students not receiving their financial aid, dating back to 2016.