The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) has received a qualified audit from the auditor-general for 2017-2018, highlighting the managerial weaknesses at the troubled institution, which was placed under administration in August. Nsfas was already battling to cope with a change in its funding model that was introduced in 2016, and then buckled under the strain of the extra demands created on it by president Jacob Zuma’s surprise announcement in December 2017 that students from poor and working-class families would be entitled to free higher education from 2018. Thousands of students have faced delayed payments, prompting protests at tertiary institutions earlier in 2018. Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu said he had given Nsfas a qualified audit because it had disbursed R503m to students above the amounts stipulated in their loan agreements, and he was unable to determine the correct carrying value of the student loan book, which Nsfas said stood at R10.3bn. "The Nsfas did not es...

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