State Capture Commission hears evidence about Free State bursary scheme
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JOHANNESBURG: The State Capture Commission heard evidence from Kopung Ralikontsane, a former director general in the office of the Free State premier.
The commission’s chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo asked to hear evidence related to a bursary scheme, initiated by the Free State government.
Advocate Veruschka September led the evidence of Ralikontsane.
“The bursary scheme in the provincial government was driven by the office of the then premier Ace Magashule,” said Ralikontsane.
He revealed that the province used to have a local bursary scheme but, around 2014, the provincial government decided to broaden the scheme and have an international bursary scheme.
Ralikontsane said the local bursary scheme used to support students, who qualified for the funding, at the province’s two universities; University of Free State (UFS) and Central University of Technology (CUT).
He revealed that, from 2000 to 2014, the provincial government had bursaries for local students and, in 2016, they began bursary schemes for students outside the province – saying that this was a decision by the executive council.
“We came to this decision to broaden the Free State net of people that can offer proper scarce skills, not only producing people who want to work for the government,” he said.
He also said that the bursary scheme was moved from the Free State Department of Education, to be situated under the premier’s office – a move that Zondo wanted clarity on.
Ralikontsane again said the executive council decided to deal with the scheme, he confirmed that he and Magashule had signed the bursaries.
September questioned Ralikontsane on how the bursary scheme was initiated, without a policy in place – she asked him to tell the commission when the policy was made.
“There was no policy in place before 2016. However, in 2012, delegates from the province visited two countries – Turkey and China. After delegates returned, they compiled reports and decided to go ahead with the international bursaries,” he said.
Ralikontsane officially took the position of director general at the premier’s office in September 2013 but, before that, he acted in that position.