Bursaries not only awarded to senior officials, says parliament

Parliament file picture

Parliament file picture

Reports had claimed bursaries were awarded to senior officials, but about 50 junior staff members had their applications rejected because of a lack of funds.

Parliament on Sunday rejected “baseless rumours and far-fetched fabrications” published in some Sunday newspapers on the institution’s criteria for allocation of bursaries for staff.

In 2016 Parliament invited staff members to apply for bursaries to study for this year through its allocated bursary budget of R1.5 million. This had been the case annually, Parliament said in a statement.

“Out of a total of 155 funding requests received totalling R5.6m which far exceeded the available R1.5m bursary budget, only 50 applications could be approved. While Parliament would have liked to assist each and every applicant the reality is that no budget is bottomless.

“To ensure fairness and equal opportunity for all staff members preference was given to new applicants who have not previously benefited from the bursary fund and meet basic requirements. The requirements include the applicability/relevance of chosen courses to areas of responsibility and proof of admission by academic institutions,” it said.

Regarding the bursary granted to Secretary of Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana, Parliament said when the institution engaged him in 2014 he was already pursuing his MBL at Unisa under the bursary fund of his previous employer. As a staff member, the institution thus took over the funding of his studies in line with the training and development policy to ensure that his studies were not unduly compromised by his employment by Parliament.

Most of the bursary beneficiaries this year were junior managers and ordinary staff. Essentially, this meant over 96 percent of the recipients of Parliament’s bursary fund were ordinary staff.

“Parliament’s training and development policy is firmly in line with best practices anywhere, whether in the private or public sector, and does not discriminate according to staff hierarchy. There is no bursary policy anywhere in the world that exclude certain categories of employees from benefitting. The policy’s objective is to continuously develop the skills capacity of all staff members to enable Parliament to efficiently and effectively discharge its constitutional function.

“The criteria for allocating bursary to staff is fair, transparent, and non-discriminatory. In this regard, claims made to the contrary are based on nothing but malicious rumour intended to tarnish the standing of Parliament and those who leads it,” Parliament said.

According to media reports, bursaries had been awarded to Mgidlana and other senior officials, but about 50 junior staff members had their applications rejected because of a lack of funds.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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