The auditor-general has raised concern about the sustainability of the Department of Higher Education and Training after it incurred nearly R1bn in irregular expenditure.
In the department’s 2016-17 annual report‚ which MPs discussed on Wednesday‚ Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu pointed out that the department continued to carry substantial liabilities‚ which spiked in 2017.
Higher education was in “a negative overdraft and negative cash-flow” position and some of the department’s entities‚ particularly the sector education and training authorities (Setas)‚ continued to underperform.
This raises questions about whether the government will be able to improve the sector as it continues to grapple with funding issues.
The sector has been rocked by protests‚ with students demanding free education. In August‚ the commission looking into the feasibility of free higher education presented its report to President Jacob Zuma. The auditor-general noted that the department had incurred irregular expenditure of R929m in the 2016-17 year‚ 94% of which has not been investigated yet.
– Business Day