Scopa reads NSFAS, SA Express and Alexkor the riot act over late financial statements

NSFAS, Alexkor and SAA Express are in Scopa's crosshairs over its financial statements.
NSFAS, Alexkor and SAA Express are in Scopa's crosshairs over its financial statements.

The National Assembly's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) said on Wednesday the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) board has failed South Africa, rejected a report by South African Express (SA Express) and raised concerns about Alexkor.

The three entities had 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," read a statement from committee chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa.

"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. NSFAS has been plagued by corruption, particularly by employees who have taken loan money fraudulently, and governance has collapsed."

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

"The committee has noted NSFAS' intention that the higher education department will receive its annual report by Monday, November 4, 2019, for tabling in Parliament. It will wait to see if NSFAS honours this commitment."

He said Scopa had rejected SA Express' report, which explained why the entity had not submitted annual financial statements.

"The committee does not accept as an excuse for not submitting that a promised government bailout has been delayed. Scopa has learned that SA Express received a letter from the government informing it of a R300m funding allocation.

"The committee will 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," Hlengwa said.  

"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 will wait and see how government intervention will assist in the matter. The circumstances at Alexkor differ from the challenges at other SOEs [state-owned entities]. Scopa expects to receive an update from the Department of Public Enterprises on the way forward in relation to Alexkor within seven days."

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