Supra Mahumapelo under fire over son's pilot bursary

North West premier Supra Mahumapelo.
North West premier Supra Mahumapelo.
Image: Masi Losi

North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo and Denel CEO Zwelakhe Ntshepe are facing a backlash over revelations that the premier’s son got a R1.1 million bursary to become a pilot.

Rapport newspaper revealed at the weekend that the state-owned armaments company‚ forced recently to borrow money to pay salaries‚ had “bent the rules” to award the bursary.

Ntshepe‚ according to the newspaper‚ personally signed the contract.

Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Natasha Mazzone said on Monday that the party had laid criminal charges of alleged fraud and corruption against the pair.

“On Sunday‚ reports emerged that Ntshepe signed off on a bursary of more than R1 million for Mahumapelo’s son to study at a prestigious Port Alfred aviation school. This‚ despite the school not being part of a list of accredited schools that Denel funding covers and that Denel bursaries have historically been allocated to the fields of IT‚ engineering‚ finances‚ and business management‚” said Mazzone.

“These allegations may point to a clear violation of the Public Finance Management Act.”

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan described the allegations as serious and asked the newly appointed Denel board to institute an internal investigation.

“There must be a criminal investigation into this possible abuse of public money. The reality is that these monies could have benefitted underprivileged students who dream of obtaining tertiary qualifications‚” said Mazzone.

Mahumapelo’s spokesman told Rapport that his office had no say over Denel bursaries.

Mahumapelo is also facing political upheaval and may end up being removed from his position on Tuesday when he faces an EFF-sponsored motion of no confidence that may be supported by some within the ANC.

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