FINANCE MEC in Mpumalanga, Pinky Phosa, allegedly presented false information to her department to help her daughter's boyfriend benefit from a government scholarship.

The MEC is also the wife of ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa.

Sowetan has learnt that Phosa, pictured, allegedly submitted false information to her department on behalf of Bruno Vilane.

Vilane was later admitted to Varsity College Pretoria, a branch of the University of South Africa.

According to sources close to Phosa, she submitted a list with the names of applicants for the scholarship and marked three names in red, one of which was Vilane's.

She also allegedly gave an instruction that the committee members must ensure that the three names qualified "come rain, come sunshine".

"The information described Vilane as relying on his grandmother financially and that he is an orphan, which is why he qualified," a source said.

Government scholarships are meant for those with serious financial needs, including orphans, but Vilane is obviously not one of those.

He is the son of former Mbombela municipality manager Bruno Vilane senior, who allegedly doused a man with petrol and set him alight after accusing him of breaking into his house.

His mother is a senior official in the provincial department of agriculture .

Sowetan's investigations over the weekend confirmed that Vilane and Phosa's daughter Tshepiso were lovers.

When Vilane was called and asked if he was having a romantic affair with Phosa's daughter, he confirmed it and bragged about the affair before handing over the cellphone to her.

"We are lovers, so what? Are you concerned that she is the daughter of an MEC?" asked Vilane.

"What's your problem with us having an affair? You like sticking your nose in where it is not wanted," Vilane said.

Officials in the finance department told Sowetan that Vilane had his tuition, accommodation and meals paid for by the department while others only received promissory notes. It was not clear how much money was involved.

Our sources allege that Vilane's bursary was first approved by the former head of department Rupeng Tshukudu on December 18 last year, almost a month before the sitting of the bursary committee on January 13.

"The MEC knew exactly what she was doing. She instructed the former HOD to approve the bursary for her unofficial son-in-law," said a source.

"Why should Treasury flout procedures and disregard the Public Finance Management Act for a single student? And why didn't all other students receive the same treatment?" asked another source.

Phosa's personal assistant Sizwe Motha said yesterday: "The MEC is the political head and cannot be part of the administration related to bursaries."