16 SA universities in 'financial distress' named

2016-08-26 16:20
The University of Cape Town's upper campus. (iStock)

The University of Cape Town's upper campus. (iStock)

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Cape Town - The sixteen out of 26 of South Africa's universities facing financial distress in 2017/18 have been named by Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande.

Nzimande was responding to a parliamentary question by DA shadow minister Belinda Bozzoli on Wednesday.

The minister said that based on the Council of Higher Education's projections, the 16 universities would have deficits over the next financial year.

Together, the 16 will lose a projected R3.97bn if a 0% increase is implemented for a second year running, Nzimande said.

The universities in question, ranked in order of deficit size starting with the largest, are:

 1. Walter Sisulu University
 2. University of Limpopo
 3. University of KwaZulu-Natal
 4. University of the Witwatersrand
 5. Tshwane University of Technology
 6. Rhodes University
 7. University of Fort Hare
 8. Cape Peninsula University of Technology
 9. Central University of Technology
 10. Vaal University of Technology
 11. University of Cape Town
 12. University of the Western Cape
 13. Mangosuthu University of Technology
 14. North West University
 15. University of Johannesburg
 16. University of Venda

Government not ready to make plans public

Bozzoli labelled the revelation as "staggering" and "shocking", and blamed the ANC for tinkering with policy solutions.

"The chronic financial neglect by the ANC government now threatens the institutions who are responsible for creating new generations of skilled labour therefore putting the very future of our country at risk," she said.

Bozzoli also said there was no explanation why the number went down to 16 from 19, as mentioned in a portfolio committee earlier this week.

An agitated Nzimande responded to Bozzoli's other questions in Parliament on Wednesday, saying that the department's plans to combat the crisis are not yet ready to be made public.

Nzimande previously said information on fee increase recommendations would be made available before the end of the month.

Meanwhile, outgoing University of Free State vice chancellor Jonathan Jansen said on Thursday that government should never have intervened in the fees crisis last October, News24 reported.

He said the decision to institute a 0% fee increase at South African universities created the current funding crisis and stripped universities of their autonomy.

He also said the fee increase freeze should only be implemented once a plan to increase income elsewhere materialises, News24 reported.

Read more on:    blade nzimande  |  cape town  |  parliament 2016  |  university protests  |  fees must fall

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