Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)
Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

AG makes damning findings against NSFAS

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Feb 5, 2021

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Johannesburg - The auditor-general has made damning findings against the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) after it obtained a qualified opinion.

In the annual report tabled in Parliament on Thursday Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke found many areas that led to her qualified opinion against the entity.

Many departments and entities had delayed in submitting their annual reports due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But in the audited financial statements Maluleke said the issue of contingent liabilities and irregular expenditure are some of the things that led to her findings.

Maluleke said she could not obtain evidence on money owed to universities, prepayment to institutions of higher education, no evidence on interest for students who owe universities and bursaries given to students in the previous year had not been properly accounted for.

She said she cannot confirm some of the information due to lack of evidence. This related to a number of issues in NSFAS and universities.

“I was unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence that contingent liabilities: student funding had

been properly disclosed, due to the status of the data supporting management’s estimate. I was unable to determine an estimate of the contingent liability by alternative means. Consequently, I was unable to determine whether any adjustment was necessary to the contingent liability: student funding disclosure stated at R79 467 782 607 (2019: R38 889 319 416) in note 25 to the financial statements,” said the auditor-general.

In the report Maluleke said she was not able to obtain documents to confirm the information related to the use of funds.

This was one area that was lacking and had led to the qualified audit opinion for NSFAS, she said.

Maluleke said there was a lack of information on money owed by universities.

“I was unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence for the amounts owing by institutions due to a

lack of reconciliation between the financial records of the NSFAS and those of institutions of higher learning.

I was unable to confirm the receivable balance by alternative means. Consequently, I was unable to determine whether any adjustment was necessary to amounts owing by institutions (exchange), stated at R62 309 000 (current) (2019: R184 197 000) and R72 423 000 (non-current) (2019: R20 457 000), bursaries – TVET colleges stated at R5 998 587 000 (2019: R3 778 932 000) and impairment loss - amounts owing by institutions (exchange), stated at R115 050 000 (2019: R0) in the financial statements,” she said in her report.

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