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Cape Town - The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) on Wednesday accused media and opposition parties of distorting the auditor general's findings published in its 2012/13 annual report.
Auditor General Terence Nombembe found the NYDA had racked up R62 million in irregular spending and failed to act against the officials at fault.
“The AG's report points to areas of improvement in the NYDA finances and operations,” spokesman Siyabonga Magadla said.
“Among these, the AG's report has noted significant improvements in the reduction of irregular expenditure, which dropped from R133 million in the 2011/12 financial year to R62m in the 2012/13 financial year.”
Magadla said while this was welcome, further steps were being taken to cut irregular spending even further.
The AG found the NYDA had flouted National Treasury regulations by procuring goods and services worth more than R500 000 without a proper tender process.
Magadla said this did not suggest money was wasted or misappropriated.
“In such instances, deviations were approved by the accounting authority wherein it was impractical to source three quotations (due to time constraints or scarcity of the service required) as required by the Treasury regulations,” he said.
The agency had further financial losses to the tune of R31.5m in defaulted loans.
In his opinion, Nombembe noted that the recovery of the money was “doubtful”.
“In terms of the possible defaulted loans... the agency has put in place a recovery plan to recoup this money,” said Magadla.
“The NYDA is taking legal action on all defaulted loans. Slow-to-pay and no-pay customers are handed over to debt collectors.”
Magadla also justified the widely criticised salaries and bonuses paid to management and staff.
Performance bonuses totalling over R7.5 million was approved for 2012/13.
Top management and senior management were paid out close to R5m, while general staff were paid R2.6m.
“It is not uncommon for any organisation or institution to pay its staff performance bonuses, and this is usually done in line with signed performance agreements with staff at the start of the financial year,” Magadla said.
“They are therefore paid against agreed upon performance targets and to do otherwise would be illegal on the part of any employer.”
The NYDA executive will appear before Parliament's portfolio committee on appropriations later this month, and are likely to be grilled by MPs on the report.