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Pretoria - Informal traders affiliated to Tshwane Barekisi Forum have criticised the City’s bursary scheme under the DA-led administration for excluding children who are not academically gifted.

Barekisi secretary Mary Ngema said the idea behind the bursary scheme was to cater also for children interested in enrolling for apprenticeship courses.

“The bursary scheme in its current form will not address the needs of children who are not academically gifted,” she said.

Ngema spoke in the wake of the City on Tuesday inviting the traders’ children to apply for the 2019 bursaries. The call generated little hope because it was a foregone conclusion that most children would not be accepted, she said.

“The bursary scheme was aimed at catering for both academically gifted children and those who want to do apprenticeship courses.”

Traders have had a soured relationship with mayor Solly Msimanga, who they first accused of withholding R740 000 raised by traders under the watch of former ANC mayor Kgosientso “Sputla” Ramokgopa.

Under the DA, the bursary scheme was reconfigured. Its new framework stipulated that new applications would be considered based on merit, academic performance and financial need.

In addition, it said the funds must be integrated into a broader City bursary scheme under the control of its Department of Corporate and Shared Services.

Mayoral spokesperson Samkelo Mgobozi said the bursaries would be allocated to traders’ children to further their education in line with the City’s strategic objectives of poverty alleviation.

“The bursary fund caters for City informal traders’ dependants to ensure that, after completing Grade 12, they are not forced stay at home due to the lack of money to further their studies.”

The bursary scheme would go a long way in aiding poor students who could not pay their tuition fees, he said. It would break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

The applicants must be city residents and meet the entry requirements for a full-time tertiary course.

“Preference will be given to candidates who wish to study core, scarce and critical skills; also, those already registered at a qualifying institution of higher learning,” Mgobozi said.

The applicants must provide copies of student IDs and for both parents/guardians.

They must have Grade 12 results and an academic record if already studying plus an affidavit from the parents stating their trading licence number.

Pretoria News