The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) had R153.8-million more cash left than projected at the end of the 2017/18 financial year, it has emerged.
Speaking to Parliament's Standing Committee on Appropriations on Tuesday, Treasury’s deputy director-general Dr Mampho Modise explained that at an entity like NFSAS, excess cash was not always a good thing - and in this case, it meant there were fewer transfers to students than there should have been.
According to the report submitted by Treasury, NSFAS’ cash available at the end of the year came to R3.7-billion, which was 4.4% higher than projected.
During the same period, there were lower payments to students. Budgeted transfers and subsidies came in at R10.12-billion, but actual transfers amounted to R7.3-billion.
Modise said the appointment of an administrator at the entity to deal with the administrative hiccups could help with the scheme's backlogs.
Last week, Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor announced that Dr Randall Carolissen would be the new administrator. For one year, Carolissen will take over the governance, management and administration of the NSFAS.
Carolissen is currently the Group Executive: Revenue Planning, Analysis and Reporting at the South African Revenue Service. He is also the Chair of the Council of the University of the Witwatersrand.
Carolissen’s appointment will help fast-track payments to students, Modise added.