THE cash-strapped Denel has admitted the pilot training bursary for Oarabile Mahumapelo, former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo’s son, was illegal.

On Wednesday Denel told parliament’s Public Enterprises Committee that it cancelled the bursary and was reserving its right to recover the money.

Denel’s Talib Sadik said the air school was not approved by Denel’s bursary policy.

“Pilot bursaries were not advertised in terms of Denel’s bursary policy and the bursaries were not approved,” he said.

“The granting of the bursary did not follow the proper selection process.”

Denel board members and management briefed MPs on the progress on the effects of state capture in the company.

Asked by the DA’s Natasha Mazzone whether the company had money to pay employees, board chairwoman Monhla Hlahla said: “We have an excess of R200 million in our account, which is a much better position from where we were.”

Hlahla said there was no loan agreement between Denel and any country and the ballooning debt was local.

The company’s revenue had plummeted from R88,4 billion in 2016/17 to just R8 billion in 2017/18 and it expects revenue will fall to just R4,9 billion for the 2018/19 financial year.

Hlahla said government workers had a tendency of not working, but expecting pay.

“Chances are for the past four years we have been paying people for doing nothing.

“That is what we are facing as a board,” she said.

Mazzone said politicians involved in Denel’s plunder must be hunted down and dealt with.