eThekwini to fund tertiary bursaries valued at R1?million annually

2014-04-02 00:00

THE eThekwini Municipality will spend R1 million annually to send students from disadvantaged backgrounds to institutions of higher learning, the council resolved yesterday.

The establishment of the Tertiary Student Financial Relief Fund was welcomed by a council sitting at the city hall.

Giving the report, city manager Sbu Sithole said the amount set aside for the fund will ensure fair distribution and cover a reasonable number of needy students.

He said the money will come from savings identified in the governance and city hall administration cluster.

Consideration will be given to students with an outstanding academic performance from around eThekwini. The students must be enrolled full-time with accredited higher education public institutions to pursue or further their careers.

The council heard yesterday that a selection had already been made and students were enrolled after the mayor was approached by a number of students for financial help to pursue their studies.

The skills development unit of the municipality has dealt with the selection process.

Democratic Alliance councillor Zwakele Mncwango questioned the selection criteria and the fact that the matter was brought to the executive committee (Exco) after the students have already been sent to tertiary institutions. “This is a good initiative but with lack of consultation and research. We are told that the students were already in tertiary institutions even before the matter was tabled in Exco,” said Mncwango.

He said information regarding the number of students sent to institutions and to which institutions, was not available.

Patrick Pillay of the Minority Front also supported the initiative but he queried the number of students assisted and where they would be studying.

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