Parliament said it was concerned that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) had regressed and received a qualified audit. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's parliament said on Monday it was concerned that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) had regressed and received a qualified audit.

Chairperson of the legislature's portfolio committee on higher education and training Connie September said it would have to be convinced why the NSFAS executive management and audit committee should be retained and why the department of higher education and training should continue to oversee the entity.

“The committee feels vindicated on its stance when it pointed out that disbursements were in excess of loan and bursary agreements," September said.

"It is further alleged that unused funds were invested without approval from the National Treasury.”

The committee said the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) was very clear on what remedies ought to be applied in the instance of irregular expenditure that was first assessed to be R1.3 billion, then later R284 million.

"The committee will be urged after engagement to support the call by the Auditor-General that the administrative leadership must be held accountable, investigate non-compliance with the PFMA to the extent of recovering any money," September said.

“Of note, are also irregular expenditures, deviations from both the department and other entities. Much-needed funds are required to be given to poor and disabled students, as well as to the various institutions to improve higher education and training.”

- African News Agency (ANA)