Randall Carolissen, group executive of tax analysis at SARS. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Randall Carolissen, group executive of tax analysis at SARS. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

Senior tax official and Wits council chair Randall Carolissen was on Friday appointed as administrator for the multi-billion rand National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

The appointment was announced by minister of higher education and training Naledi Pandor.

This follows the recent resignation of board chair Sizwe Nxasana.

NSFAS has been struggling to ensure the smooth roll-out of free higher education. Many students have complained about delayed payments‚ which sparked protests at various tertiary institutions earlier this year.

Carolissen will take the hot seat for one year.

The appointment will be effective from the date of the publication of a notice in the Government Gazette‚ which will be done early next week.

The current board is dissolved from the date of publication of the Gazette‚ the ministry said in Friday’s statement.

Carolissen is currently the group executive: revenue planning‚ analysis and reporting at the SA Revenue Services (SARS). He is also the chair of the council of Wits University.

Pandor highlighted Carolissen’s leadership and management experience‚ high-level technical skills and his understanding of the South African higher education and training landscape as key attributes in selecting him for the administrator role.

"I wish to thank him for agreeing to take on this critical and important task‚" she said.

The ministry said he will be supported by a team of experts in areas such as financial aid‚ human resources‚ information technology‚ business systems and change management.

"The immediate focus for the administrator will be to ensure the effective closeout of the 2017 and 2018 student funding decisions and disbursements‚ as well as to urgently finalise plans for the 2019 funding cycle. Over the next few months the administrator will work with universities and TVET [Technical Vocational Education & Training] colleges to make sure that student funding for the 2019 academic year works smoothly."

In her first meeting with Carolissen‚ the minister said she asked him to prepare for the opening of 2019 applications in September 2018.

Her office said: "A review of the NSFAS student-centred model will be undertaken over the next few months to run parallel with the term of the administrator. This will provide recommendations for the long-term improvement of NSFAS so that it can effectively carry out its mandate‚ to ensure that students from poor and working classes are effectively supported to succeed in their studies."