Trade union Solidarity on Sunday warned it will not hesitate to take action against state-owned enterprises (SoEs) wasting taxpayers' money.
"During the weekend Solidarity revealed that in 2017 state-owned company Denel had paid a bursary of R1.1 million to the son of North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo," Solidarity deputy general secretary for defence and aviation Deon Reyneke said.
"This bursary was used to fund Supra Oarabile Mahumapelo’s private flight lessons. This disclosure comes only a few days after the trade union announced that it had launched a bid to have the mismanaged national carrier, the SAA [South African Airways], placed under business rescue," he said.
Denel, which was in financial trouble at the end of last year and was in a fix to pay salaries to its employees, had signed a contract with Mahumapelo jr in terms of which the entity agreed to pay for his flight lessons, accommodation, food and laundry services.
This bursary was particularly controversial because, historically, Denel’s bursary programme only applied to studies in IT, engineering, finance and business management, not pilots.
“The granting of this bursary is just more proof of the high level of corruption that is prevailing in so many state-owned enterprises in South Africa, where cadres are using such enterprises as their personal piggy bank.
"Moreover, rumours have been doing the rounds for quite some time that Mahumapelo snr has ties with the Gupta family and is, in the bigger picture, linked to state capture,” Reyneke said.
Solidarity had sent a letter to newly appointed Denel board chair Monhla Hlahla, "in which the granting of the bursary to Mahumapelo jr is disclosed and which calls for an in-depth probe into the granting of the bursary".
Among other things, the trade union asked Hlahla whether steps would be taken against Denel CEO Zwelakhe Ntshepe, who had approved the bursary in his personal capacity, and if so, to what extent?
“Solidarity will not hesitate to take action against state-owned enterprises that squander South African citizens’ tax money,” Reyneke said.
African News Agency (ANA)