Denel confirms cancellation of Supra Jr’s bursary

State-owned aerospace and military technology conglomerate Denel has confirmed the cancellation of a R1.1 million bursary agreement with Supra Mahumapelo’s son.

Eleven months after his uncle quit as a Denel board member, Oarabile Mahumapelo, the son of the former North West Premier, was awarded a bursary.

The premier’s younger brother Tau Mahumapelo was brought on to the board in July 2015 by then public enterprises minister Lynne Brown as part of a “rotation” board.

He and four other board members resigned in March 2016 without explanation.

READ MORE: Denel denies contravening policy to grant Mahumapelo’s son a bursary

Initially, Denel denied in a statement the bursary was awarded improperly saying “these allegations are false” and the “bursary awarded was made to three students based on the same criteria and/or considerations” and that only one bursary — the one in question — “has attracted the interest of the media”.


On Wednesday, while briefing Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises, Denel board audit committee chair Talib Sadik said an investigation into how the bursary was awarded had made several findings. These include that the school where Mahumapelo was studying to be a pilot was not an institution approved by Denel, the bursaries were not advertised in terms of Denel’s bursary policy, and that the bursary was granted without following a proper selection process.

“We encountered a number of issues with a pilot bursary we awarded. It was not advertised or subjected to proper selection processes. We have decided as a result that we will no longer continue with the bursary policy and it has been terminated,” Sadik added.

As a result, Denel terminated the bursary policy, Sadik said. Denel says it has a right to recover any money already paid towards Mahumapelo Jr’s studies.

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Kiri Rupiah
Kiri Rupiah is the online editor at the Mail & Guardian.

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