Local FET’s in a disarray: DA

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - OCTOBER 14, 2014

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday said South Africa’s Further Education Training (FET) colleges were in a disarray.

“The Auditor-General has found that of 15 FET Colleges audited this year, 7 received disclaimers (ie adverse audit opinions) and the rest received qualified audits with or without findings. None of the 15 colleges received clean audits,” said Belinda Bozzoli, DA Shadow Minister of Higher Education and Training.

She said today she would challenge the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training, Yvonne Phosa, to summon the Director-General of Higher Education and Training, Gwebinkundla Qonde, to urgently appear before the portfolio committee to explain this shocking state of affairs.

“Last year, of the 15 FET colleges audited, 3 received disclaimers, while 5 received clean audits.

“This year we see a severe deterioration in audit outcomes. Some of this may be due to the stringent audit conditions which the Auditor-General uses; but the deterioration also reflects badly on the Department of Higher Education and Training,” Bozzoli said.

“In fact the Auditor-General has complained of a lack of cooperation from College management in several of the cases, while the colleges with adverse audits have shown failures both in compliance with legislation as well as in internal controls, staff skills, staffing levels, IT systems, recording of transactions and many other crucial aspects of good financial management, according to the Auditor-General.

“Now the Department is in the process of moving all 50 of the FET colleges from Provincial to National control. But the move appears not to be accompanied by an improvement plan for the already weak financial controls and management operating in these colleges.”

She said as the country is already faced with an ailing higher education system, it is imperative that the funds available to FET colleges are appropriately and effectively managed to give our young people the opportunities they deserve for employment and meaningfully contributing to our economy.