Local News/27 July 2023,10:37am/Mpho Mokoena
Free State Premier, Mxolisi Dukwana: image supplied
By Mpho Mokoena: Free State Premier, Mxolisi Dukwana, has pointed fingers at his predecessors, Sisi Ntombela and Ace Magashule, blaming unresolved bursary issues for the province’s repeated failure to secure a clean audit. He made these comments during a meeting with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and provincial officials on Wednesday.
The SIU is currently probing the allocation of bursaries by the premier’s office.
According to Dukwana, the Auditor General has repeatedly raised concerns over these bursaries for several years, which he believes have impeded his office’s ability to secure a clean audit.
“That has been a standing issue raised by the Auditor General for several years now, obstructing the Premier’s office from securing a clean audit due to this unresolved matter,” Dukwana remarked.
He added that despite the Auditor General providing opportunities for the office to address the issues, the required responses have not been forthcoming.
In May, disgruntled graduates who had been part of the provincial government’s bursary programme to study abroad voiced their disappointment with the government, saying it had let them down. The graduates completed their qualifications in China but have struggled to find employment upon returning home.
During his 2023/24 budget debate, Dukwana announced that the province currently supports 20 international bursary holders studying in Portugal and at various universities in Turkey.
He stated that these initiatives are part of the government’s contribution to the National Skills Development Plan, which aims to ensure the availability of adequate and appropriate skills to spur the province’s growth and development.