Setas still plagued by money problems

Although it is clear that the affairs of the Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas) have improved since they were first launched eight years ago, annual reports from 10 of them, tabled in Parliament on Friday, show that all is not entirely well.

Although it is clear that the affairs of the Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas) have improved since they were first launched eight years ago, annual reports from 10 of them, tabled in Parliament on Friday, show that all is not entirely well.

One improvement is that only one of the 10 - the Health and Welfare Seta - has a qualified report from the Auditor-General.

The Auditor-General told the seta: "Management lacked responsibility to establish and maintain internal controls and reconciliations on an ongoing basis which led to line items on the financial statements being misstated."

But other Setas are still suffering from financial problems as evidenced by the call for special investigations into various items.

The board of the Education Training and Development Practices Seta, for example, called for an investigation into discretionary grants during the previous two years.

Findings from the investigation included a R4,600million overspending in grant payments.

The Wholesale and Retail Seta also suffered fraudulent claims for discretionary grants in KwaZulu-Natal.

Don Johnston, who chairs the Services Seta, also has a complaint. Although the Labour Department has been a true Seta supporter, he says, the same cannot be said of either the Education Department, or the Treasury.

He said Treasury officials "seem to be doing everything they can to frustrate the efforts of our members in supporting the skills cause in our country".

He refers to "their draconian measures" in managing the tax deductions scheme available to companies who contract learners. If learners do not complete the course the company not only can't get the remaining R30000 tax deduction, but they have to pay back the original R30000, in spite of having had to pay more than that in contracting the learner in the first place. - I-Net Bridge

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