“None of us must develop cold feet about the necessity of taxing the rich to fund higher education,” said Blade Nzimande, minister of higher education and traning.


“Our country has enough money to support free higher education for the poor. But the problem is that more resources are in the private sector than in the government fiscus,” Nzimande told MPs in a debate on higher education transformation.

He was speaking as South African universities had been plunged into a funding crisis after South African President Jacob Zuma announced on Friday that there would be zero percent tuition fee hikes for 2016.

Zuma made the announcement after two weeks of protests against tuition fee hikes gripped almost all universities across the country, bringing class to a standstill.

“We need to always bear in mind that the struggle for access to quality higher education is simultaneously a struggle against poverty and inequality,” Nzimande said.

According to Nzimande, South African universities face a shortfall of almost 3 billion rand (about 222 million U.S. dollars) after plans to raise tuition fees were scrapped.

While Zuma’s announcement about zero percent tuition fee hike came as a relief for all students, Zuma made no mention of where the resulting shortfall in university income would come from.

In remarks published by local newspaper Sunday Times, Nzimande said he himself did not know where he would find the money to fund the shortfall.

“We have to find the money somewhere. At the moment, we are asking our director-general of the Treasury and higher education to put their heads together to say where can we try to find money because we can’t leave our universities in the lurch,” Nzimande said.

He indicated that eight universities are on the verge of bankruptcy and will require bailouts. Enditem

Source: Xinhua



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