Will the taxpayer again be milked?

2015-12-02 06:00

STUDENTS’ demands for a zero increase in 2016 with the ultimate aim of agitating for free university education is legitimate.

Students have rightfully alluded to the fact that R30 billion a year is wasted through corruption and theft in government departments. This money can be utilised to fund the university education of students. Blade Nzimande has stated that government needs approximately R30 billion to fund the fees of students in tertiary education. One solution is to stop corruption and theft of our money immediately so it can be invested in our students.

The government, using our taxes, has allocated R8.2 billion for the National­ Student Financial Aid Scheme (NFSAS). This money must only be allocated to deserving students who fit the criteria to be in a tertiary institution. The notion and sense of entitlement must be avoided at all costs. This could be the reason why the drop-out rate at tertiary institutions is above 50%.

If students fail, they must raise their own finance. Once they pass the required modules then only can they reapply to have their loans reinstated at the discretion of NFSAS. Students who graduate and find employment must be tracked to pay back their loans which will be used to assist other students. If 60% of the R8.2 billion is recovered, that will amount to almost R5 billion that can be pumped into NFSAS.

Hypothetically speaking, after approximately four years, assuming the students pay back their loans, including the taxpayers’ portion NFSAS, would be self-sustaining to fund almost 95% of students in tertiary institutions as government explores a model for free university education as enshrined in the freedom charter.

The government has capitulated under the #feesmustfall campaign. The question remains, where is government going to find the money to alleviate the financial pressure on our universities due to reduced revenue.

Will the taxpayer once again be milked even further to accommodate government’s decision for a zero percent fee increase through more taxes, probably a wealth tax, increase in VAT, increase in fuel levy or take the more defining route of eliminating all forms of corruption and theft in government.


Vijay surujpal Via email

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