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Premier’s prize fails star pupil

A top achiever in matric 2013 may have to abandon his dreams of a mathematical technology qualification because the premier’s bursary has not paid for his accommodation.

Avuya Meleni from Ulwazi High School received the bursary in January 2014 for his outstanding achievements in maths and physical science.

His mother, Bukelwa Meleni, said her son registered at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) for a national diploma in mathematical technology, with the backing of a once-off R50000 bursary. The Office of the Premier confirmed the bursary for Meleni and that R21000 had been paid for tuition, leaving a balance of R29000 still owing.

It urged Meleni to take the matter up with the CPUT student office because time was running out to resolve the matter.

Meleni’s trouble started when R18000 for his 2014 accommodation was not paid, and CPUT refused to release his first year final exam results because of the debt.

According to Bukelwa, her son was not readmitted to the residence this year, and he is now squatting with friends.

He has been given until today to pay the debt so that he can register for second year.

“The bursary was supposed to pay both tuition and accommodation,” Bukelwa said.

The mother said visits to the premier’s office have proven fruitless as she just gets sent from pillar to post.

She said she feared her son would have to abandon his studies and return home because she cannot pay the outstanding amount.

“The bursary was a huge help because I am unemployed.

“While it took care of his tuition, I had to find means to buy textbooks and stationery and to give him money for food.

“The money that I used was from my other children’s child support grants because we have nothing,” she said.

Office of the Premier spokeswoman Mandisa Titi said the R21000 had been paid in the previous financial year, meaning that the process had to be repeated in the new one.

“That financial year closed on the last day of March 2014 with the current one on the verge of closing at the end March,” she said.

Titi advised the pupil to visit the financial aid bureau on campus to ask for assistance.

“They in turn will contact us and help in taking the matter further. It is important that matters of this nature are not left till this late because our systems work according to timelines.” — zisandan@dispatch.co.za


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