R1.2m pilot bursary for Supra’s son crashes
Denel set to recoup money already paid
The bursary agreement worth R1.2m between Denel and the son of former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo has been terminated and Denel has reserved its right to recover the monies paid to him. Denel board member Talib Sadik told parliament’s public enterprises committee that the pilot’s bursaries for Oarabile and two others were not approved as required by the group’s bursary policy. “Pilot bursaries are not part of our bursary policy.”
The air school for the pilots was not an approved study institution in terms of Denel’s bursary policy and the pilot bursaries were not advertised as required. “The pilot bursaries were granted without following the proper selection process as set out in Denel’s bursary policy,” Sadik said. Sowetan’s sister publication Business Day reported in April that Denel denied the bursaries were done in contravention of the ailing company’s policy.
“The award was made in compliance with Denel’s relevant policy after a full disclosure and presentation to the board of directors of Denel which was noted without any objection‚” Denel said in a statement at the time. Following the allegation, public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan asked the then newly appointed Denel board to institute an internal investigation.
In May, Denel group chief executive Zwelakhe Ntshepe resigned. According to Rapport newspaper, Ntshepe personally signed the bursary contract. The situation at Denel under his stewardship was so dire that the ailing state-owned arms manufacturer could not pay its suppliers and staff salaries. The newly appointed interim board was said to have made it clear that it had lost confidence in his ability to manage the company. Ntshepe and former board chairperson Daniel Mantsha were implicated in allegations of state capture in a tranche of leaked Gupta e-mails. Mantsha resigned in March.
Supra Mahumapelo’s son Oarabile has had his R1.2m bursary revoked by Denel as it was not approved as per the state-owned entity’s policy.