AfriForum Youth this week sent more lawyers’ letters to the Free State Provincial Bursary Office to demand that the promised bursaries be paid out to 2021’s top 100 matrics in the Free State.

This follows after numerous pleading e-mails from the Free State’s top 100 matrics, who did not receive their promised bursaries, were received by AfriForum Youth. The problem is more far-reaching than AfriForum Youth initially thought. The organisation assisted two of the top students after it was brought to their attention that the students did not receive their scholarships, or any correspondence from the scholarship office.

“The number of inquiries we have received emphasizes that injustice with bursaries is a significant problem for our young people. We have indeed opened a can of worms, where various evils in this regard are exposed,” says René van der Vyver, spokesperson for AfriForum Youth.

There was controversy earlier this year over the scholarships for the top 100 matrics in the Free State. Full bursaries were on occasion promised to every matric who accomplished this achievement, but the Free State government turned back shortly afterwards and proposed other criteria for bursary awards. Children whose parents earn a total of more than R600 000 a year are then deprived of the bursary. After much pressure from opposition parties and the media, Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela once again promised on March 4 that every top 100 matric would receive the promised bursary, regardless of their parents’ annual income.

However, the inquiries sent to AfriForum Youth show that the bursaries of several students have not yet been paid out and that these students are still trying in vain to obtain correspondence from the bursary office. Furthermore, on April 25, some of the students heard that they had to apply for the bursaries from scratch and respond to requests, such as attaching parents’ salary slips.

“It is sad to see how hard-working top achievers are treated by the Free State government. The students have been trying for months to get basic correspondence from the bursary office and now they have to go through the gruelling process of submitting a bursary application, with unfair requirements, to get the bursary that has already been promised to them,” says René van der Vyver, spokesperson for AfriForum Youth.

AfriForum Youth is disgusted by the injustice associated with bursaries and therefore once again invites other students, who are in the same position, to approach the organisation for assistance by sending an email to rene.vandervyver@afriforum.co.za