Gauteng education MEC fights backlash over Dlaminí's bursary

2016-10-19 20:29
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. (Simone Kley)

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. (Simone Kley)

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I am not a criminal, I am a political activist - Mcebo Dlamini

2016-10-19 11:12

University fee protestors have vowed to shut down Johannesburg as student leader Mcebo Dlamini was denied bail. WATCH

Cape Town - Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi had to field anger and insults about his mother on Wednesday, over a bursary his department awarded to student leader Mcebo Dlamini.

Dlamini, the former Wits University SRC president, was one of the recipients of the department’s R280m bursary scheme, reserved mainly for disadvantaged pupils.

He was arrested in the early hours of Sunday at his residence at the University of the Witwatersrand. On Wednesday, the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court denied him bail.

Lesufi was recently reported as saying that the department would review Dlamini’s funding.

The student leaders’ supporters flocked to Twitter to demand answers from Lesufi. He responded to tweets while stuck in a Cabinet meeting during the day, emphasising that he did not say the bursary would be recalled.

He said it was not illegal to be a student leader. Failure to meet the requirements of the bursary was an issue.

Twitter user @SennaBT asked the MEC to leave Dlamini alone. “The man is sacrificing with other poor student” (sic).

Lesufi replied that they were looking at the legal requirements to submit results and knew of Dlamini’s predicament.

“The requirements of the bursary include attendance, exams and other related matters. For now he is not guilty,” he told one user.

User Meshack Skosana said he trusted Lesufi was better than “allowing the ANC to use you to settle scores” against Dlamini.

He assured Skosana that administrative justice would be protected.

When insults were flung his way, Lesufi replied that he was fortunately “vulgar proof”. He said it was the price he had to pay as a public servant.

He asked one user: “Why insult me with my late Mom? I value my Mom so much just for you to know”.

Despite the remarks, he told the user he would not block him as he valued feedback.

Police said they had footage of Dlamini inciting violence and urging students to prevent others from attending class. Police claimed Dlamini assaulted a female officer during student protests.

Dlamini denied this, saying that as a student leader he did not condone violence.

User @TBMagaisa asked whether Dlamini’s bursary could not be given to “someone deserving” in light of the allegations.

Lesufi said Dlamini was innocent until proven guilty. “Let’s not jump to conclusion but your views are respectfully noted,” he replied.

The State previously said Dlamini might flee to Swaziland, where he was born, if he was granted bail.

One user said one needed to be South African to qualify for the bursary. The MEC replied that Dlamini was a naturalised citizen.

His case was postponed to November 15 and was expected be transferred to the Johannesburg High Court.


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