Minister Blade Nzimande dismisses yet another NSFAS tender exposé

Minister Blade Nzimande dismisses yet another NSFAS tender exposé

The Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, Blade Nzimande, has dismissed what he called false and ill-informed allegations regarding his awarding of a National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) tender to a colleague.

This comes after Netwerk24 reported that Nzimande had awarded his adviser, Tilson Manyoni, a R44 million NSFAS tender.

In a statement, Nzimande denied the allegations and said they were just more “false and ill-informed suggestions” levelled against him.

“These allegations are therefore both false and malicious,” he said.

He also clarified that Manyoni was never his adviser.

“Firstly, Mr Tilson Manyoni is not and has never been an adviser to the minister, as erroneously suggested by some media houses. The names of the advisers of the minister are matters of public record and discoverable with little or no difficulty.

“Secondly, in terms of the Public Finance Management Act and applicable Treasury Regulations, ministers are defined outside the value chain of procurement matters precisely to guarantee the integrity of such processes,” he said.

This is yet another big exposé with the minister’s name attached to it.

According to the minister, the latest “set of false” allegations were part of the continuing attempts to tarnish his name and distract the department from the important task of ensuring a smooth start to the 2024 academic year.

Nzimande said he had no role in the awarding of an NSFAS tender to Manyoni or any other individual or company.

He mentioned that he was the executive authority at the department and not an accounting officer, stating that all NSFAS queries should be directed to the scheme.

“Any queries relating to procurement processes at NSFAS should rightfully be directed to the Chief Executive Officer or Board of NSFAS.

“It is both unfair and mischievous to expect the Minister to answer questions relating to the procurement details of entities when such entities have their own accounting officers, executives, and boards,” he said.

He further reassured the public that he was committed to ensuring that the country experiences a smooth start to the 2024 academic year.

Responding to the matter, NSFAS said that Manyoni’s tender was legitimate and met all the requirements.

It also confirmed that he was not listed as a government employee, and the company did not declare any conflict of interest during the time of bidding for this contract.

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