Withdrawn NSFAS ’hands of god’ bursary applications explained, Newsline

Cape Town – The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has explained the so-called “hands of god” where applications of students’ bursaries disappeared and there was no explanation how they get lost in the system.

The issue of “hands of god” was brought up by Nehawu when it levelled allegations against the NFSAS and its administrator Randall Carolissen.

Briefing the higher education portfolio committee on Friday, Chief Operating Officer Nthuseng Mphahlele said there were 28 000 bursary applications that were flagged as withdrawn by the system.

Mphahlele said when the root cause was analysed, the system had not eliminated the duplicates but removed all the applications.

She said the system was corrected and one of the matching applications was reinstated.

Mphahlele said there was a trail for each of the applications and it was for the committee to peruse.

She also said when one of the matching duplicates was reinstated, the system indicated 2 000 as withdrawn by the students.

“The audit shows those are withdrawn by students in the year 2020 applications,” Mphahlele said.

When the issue and procurement of laptops for students during Covid-19 were brought up, when the National Health, Education and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) snubbed the meeting last Friday, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande understood it to mean interference by his office in NSFAS affairs.

Committee chairperson Philly Mapulane had explained that “hands of god” did not refer to interference to procurement.

“It is something we came to know when we had interaction with Nehawu. It is something referring to a situation where applications of students for NSFAS get lost in the system, and there is no explanation how they get lost,” he said at the time.

Political Bureau