Blade Nzimande, Higher Education Minister, has announced that laptops promised through NSFAS will only be delivered to NSFAS students next year. These processes are being done and delayed in the midst of NSFAS, along with the country, seeing financial crisis.

The Minister promised that laptops will be delivered to students in April of this year and students are yet to receive them. Delays in procurement were seen due to the previous laptop tender was cancelled as requirements were not met.

Zoom forward and by the closing date of the latest tender in September saw 140 bids received. The NSFAS administrator, Randall Carolissen, approved the tender award on 2 September to 5 bidders who will work to deliver laptops to students.

Nzimande then made it clear that NSFAS is now in the process of completing contractual arrangements with the service providers.

Guidelines will then be given to institutions and thereafter will procurement of laptops begin as well as delivery to NSFAS funded students next year.

The Minister said the following during his media briefing:

I therefore would like to thank NSFAS for finalising this process and congratulate all the companies who were appointed but given that the procurement process has been concluded much later than originally planned, the laptops will not only be distributed in the new academic year.

He then went on to say, “the delay in providing laptops is regrettable and I wish to apologise to all affected and I want to ensure the students in particular that it was not an intention to have this delay but it was very essential to ensure that the procurement process were followed strictly and according to the rules”.

The Minister was addressing the public on the latest developments in the higher education sector today with the Deputy Minister, Buti Manamela, present. 

The Department will assist NSFAS with dealing with severe financial challenges, said Nzimande.

He then alsok a moment to thank Carolissen for turning the organisation around during his 29 months of working for NSFAS. The Administrator’s term is set to come to and end in December.

Nzimande concluded this part of his speech by saying, “NSFAS is a much better entity now than it was when you alsok over Dr Carolissen. We should express our appreciation to you on this regard”.

The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé