Msimanga Informal Trader Bursary Fund sends its first beneficiaries to tertiary

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This administration has made available R226 325 to settle outstanding fees for the 2017 academic year for ten existing beneficiaries.  I am happy to indicate that payments have been effected for Busang Mpheroane who is pursuing a career in Mechanical Engineering at Pretoria Technical College, Tsakane Hlongwane, studying Financial Accounting at Overcomers Training College and Boipelo Sibanyoni studying Diploma in Public Relations at Rosebank College.

We await supporting documents such as proof of banking details or cancelled cheque from other learners from their institutions of studies so that we process their payments.

The Msimanga administration is also pleased to announce that it is at advanced stages of revising the Informal Trader’s Bursary Fund framework.

The management of the Fund, developed by the previous administration in 2015, proved to be unworkable. The scheme was not comprehensively thought through and did not cover the necessary basis for the proper functioning of the bursary fund.  For instance, it did not determine how the distribution of the funding was going to be conducted, and even the selection criterion. It effectively created an impression of “Free for All”, thus raising unreasonable expectations. The fund, was left in the hands of officials with no sufficient competency to handle it.

Further, there was no fund management structure. At the beginning of the 2016 academic year, there were not enough funds to cover for the registration of all students and R3.2 million from the Mayoral Fund was used by the then Executive Mayor to fund the tuition fees. The Bursary Fund had totally failed to live up to its expectations, and the expectations created had to be funded through City funds, which was never part of the plan.

As a result of these troubles, I issued an instruction that the Fund Framework be reworked in consultation with the informal traders to be able to set out a management framework which will close all loopholes going forward. The proposed framework clearly defines the criteria for receiving financial aid and the management thereof. Such a framework is currently at draft stages and it is envisaged to be concluded by the end of March 2018. It will go through consultation with the relevant stakeholders before being approved.

In terms of the new framework, new applications will be considered based on their merit, academic performance and financial need.

Additionally, following my meeting with relevant departments with the necessary information regarding this matter, it was agreed that the Fund must, as a matter of principle, be integrated into a broader City of Tshwane Bursary Scheme which is under the control of the Department of Corporate and Shared Services. This will ensure the fund is handled by officials with necessary knowledge and expertise in this regard.

The informal trading sector contributes to the creation of jobs and alleviation of poverty. It is my considered view that if nothing gets done about improving the educational situation of informal traders dependents, they too will end up becoming informal traders with no passion for sector but as a means of survival against poverty and joblessness. This makes it all the more important that we administer the scheme properly and ensure the right people get the assistance they need.

I announced last year that I would be matching every rand raised by the informal traders (up to R1 million) from the Office of the Executive Mayor’s discretionary fund. I continue to encourage informal traders to keep knocking on relevant doors to raise funds for their children’s future

Together, we will make more opportunities available to the largest number of people and get our youth to escape poverty.

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