The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology is concerned that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) is yet to table its annual report for the 2018/19 financial year.
The deadline for each government department or entity’s annual report is the end of September.
“The committee is committed to conducting robust oversight over the entity, as the entity is currently experiencing governance and management challenges as well as data related challenges that delay the disbursement of funds to eligible students,” reads a statement from the committee.
“We urge both NSFAS and the Office of the Auditor-General to speed up the process of finalising the outstanding matters relating to the audit of the financial statement of the entity,” said committee chairperson Philly Mapulane, according to the statement.
“We will, at our earliest convenience, schedule a meeting to consider and report on the annual report when it is tabled and referred to the committee in terms of the National Assembly Rules 339 and 340 respectively.”
The committee also noted with “grave concern” the stagnant audit outcomes of the Higher Education and Training portfolio, particularly the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges, and the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs).
The Auditor-General raised concerns with most financial statements that were submitted with material misstatements and also noted a lack of capacity within many of the auditees to submit statements that are free of misstatements.
Furthermore, the committee is also concerned about an increase in irregular expenditure – R1.2bn among the portfolio’s entities, of which R1.1bn was incurred by four entities, Construction SETA, Energy and Water SETA, Media, Information and Communication Technologies and the Services SETA.
“The committee will, in the near future, summon these entities to account to Parliament on irregular expenditure,” the statement reads.