Denel bursary adds to Supra’s woes

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

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

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

Tau Mahumapelo also met Rajesh ‘Tony’ Gupta, who is implicated in the state capture investigations.

Supra Mahumapelo came under fire in North West this week, as calls for his removal mounted over the Denel bursary.

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

According to Rapport, Oarabile, who had applied for the bursary after the October 2016 deadlines, was granted a R1.1-million bursary to become a pilot at the prestigious 43 Air School in Port Alfred.
It was alleged that this was despite Denel not granting bursaries for people to become pilots.

Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan instructed an investigation be conducted into the matter. The Democratic Alliance opened fraud and corruption charges against Mahumapelo and Denel chief executive Zwelakhe Ntshepe.

Ntshepe was linked to the Gupta family after he signed the contract for the aborted VR Laser partnership between Denel and the Guptas.

Tau Mahumapelo was on the board that pushed for the VR Laser partnership. He did not respond to calls and messages for comment.

Supra Mahumapelo has defended his son and also said his family was willing to pay back the bursary if requested to do so.

The premier has also argued that his son had been awarded the bursary based on merit.

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