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Pretoria - The National Assembly’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) said on Wednesday the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) board had failed South Africa.

"NSFAS has been plagued by corruption, particularly by employees who have taken loan money fraudulently, and governance has collapsed," the committee chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said in a statement.

The committee also rejected a report by South African Express (SA Express) and raised concerns about Alexkor.

The three entities had met with Scopa to explain why they had not tabled their 2018/18 annual reports.

NSFAS has provided a date when it will submit, but neither SA Express nor Alexkor has indicated when they will submit their reports.

“The committee believes that the previous NSFAS board failed South Africans by allowing the entity to reach such a point. The entity is currently under administration and has failed to table its annual report on time. 

Hlengwa said the committee was encouraged that forensic investigations were currently under way, adding that he hoped these investigations would be concluded so that the money could be recovered from those responsible.

He said Scopa had rejected SA Express’ report in which it had provided an unsatisfactory explanation for why the entity had not submitted annual financial statements.

Scopa said it had learnt that SA Express had received a letter from the government informing it of a R300m funding allocation. The committee said it could therefore not accept a delay in the bailout from government as an excuse for SA Express not submitting its annual report. 

Hlengwa said the committee would schedule meetings to further understand the nature of these allocations at state-owned entities, particularly in relation to dealing with the root causes of financial problems.

“The committee has also raised concerns about the dire situation at Alexkor, which is also under administration and experiencing liquidity challenges.

"Alexkor has high debts and no chance of meeting those debts," Scopa said.

“Scopa will wait and see how government intervention will assist in the matter. The circumstances at Alexkor differ from the challenges at other SOEs .

Scopa expects to receive an update from the Department of Public Enterprises on the way forward in relation to Alexkor within seven days," Hlengwa said.

African News Agency (ANA)