AG should give clarity on NSFAS misleading APP report – Bax Nodada

DA MP says problematic presentation is also symptomatic of fund's internal governance failures

DA calls on AG to appear before Parliament to give clarity on NSFAS misleading APP report

12 May 2020

Note to Editors:  A document showing the differences between the APP and the presentation can be accessed here.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the Auditor General (AG) to urgently appear before the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education to provide clarity on the Annual Performance Plan (APP) of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). In today’s virtual meeting, NSFAS produced a presentation on its APP which was riddled with inconsistencies and was completely misleading.

AG officials were unable to attend today’s briefing to give feedback on its assessment and findings on the NSFAS APP and given the poor showing by scheme today – Parliament will need to be briefed by the AG as soon as possible.

The NSFAS presentation had various erroneous numbers and targets which were completely different from the NSFAS APP which was tabled in Parliament. This is problematic because the purpose of the presentation was to give an outline of what is in the APP, not to discuss something different as NSFAS did.

One of the more glaring errors in the presentation was that NSFAS claimed that it had received an unqualified audit opinion, when the APP which was tabled in Parliament state that the scheme received a qualified audit opinion. This is a very questionable mistake and raises red flags on whether these errors were made on purpose in order to mislead Parliament.

The problematic presentation is also symptomatic of NSFAS’ internal governance failures and its failure to carry out duties efficiently. It also raises questions around the scheme’s ability to effectively manage R35 billion meant to assist the poor.

The DA urges the AG to appear before Parliament and clarify the NSFAS APP without delay.

Issued by Baxolile ‘Bax’ Nodada,DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, 12 May 2020