Metro’s bursaries department is in shambles – DA

Clr Simon Lapping.

Hundreds of students are still waiting to hear whether they have successfully applied for a bursary from the City of Ekurhuleni.

“No applicants have been notified of awards as yet and we find ourselves at the beginning of February with universities starting the academic year. Many potential students have no idea whether or not they will be granted the funds to make their studies possible,” said Clr Simon Lapping, DA member of economic development in Ekurhuleni.

Applicants will only be informed from Saturday, Lapping said.

In a statement issued last week, Lapping said the DA economic development oversight committee in Ekurhuleni recently paid a visit to the metro’s bursaries department.

“We expected to see a highly organised department in full operation. However, it turned out to be rather disappointing, to say the least. The lack of systematic recording and comparison was shockingly evident.

“Any system that is in place is completely manual, which not only opens it up to possible corruption and manipulation but also makes for a lot of time wasting and confusion,” Lapping said.

“In an office which receives thousands of applications in a relatively short period of time, one would expect some sort of electronic system to be implemented in order to ensure that bursaries were awarded to the most deserving candidates. An electronic system would also ensure that the awards were done in a fair and transparent manner. No such system is evident.

“As a result of this manual system, there have been many delays and applicants have been given a myriad of different excuses for the lack of feedback on their applications,” according to Lapping.

He said the Ekurhuleni Bursaries Department embarked on what could best be described as a half-hearted campaign to encourage 2017 matriculants to apply for the bursary offered by the municipality in September last year. The closing date for applications was September 30 and applicants were informed on the application form that announcements of the results of applications would be made within two months of their application – the end of November.

“This date is clearly ill-conceived. Final matric results were not available until January. No final decisions could be made before final results were available.”

The DA’s oversight committee would recommend the following:

• The entire bursary process, from application to award, should be electronic in order to avoid manipulation of the application or awards process.

• An external company, specialising in data processing, should be contracted to oversee the process until such time as the municipality is properly equipped to do so in-house.

Kempton Express

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