Parties meeting to find money for fees shortfall - Manana

2015-10-29 17:54
Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Mduduzi Manana. (GCIS)

Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Mduduzi Manana. (GCIS)

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Cape Town - A meeting was underway in Pretoria on Thursday to thrash out a plan to find the money to fund a promise to keep tertiary education fees the same for next year, Deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduzi Manana said on Thursday.

Speaking after accepting a memorandum from protesting students and workers, he told News24 that everybody in the meeting was working hard to find a solution to the expected shortfall of R2.6bn for universities because of the 0% increase.

Manana was wearing a #feesmustfall T-shirt over his waistcoat after students insisted he put it on after he accepted a memorandum from them outside Parliament.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande had been expected to announce the shortfall measures on Thursday, but instead, it would only be done when President Jacob Zuma returns from a trip to India.

Manana said that in a second process, government would also consider a number of proposals that have been put forward regarding free education. These have included a possible corporate tax.

He said the government agreed that education should be free, but that the fiscus could not fund it by itself. Support from the private sector was needed.

Earlier, he thanked the students for keeping the issue of fees on the boil, calling it a "noble struggle". He did not flinch when they shouted, "then why you did shoot at us?".

Students have been protesting since mid-October when universities started announcing their fee increases, with the University of the Witwatersrand for initially saying fees would go up by 10.5%.

An attempt to cap fee increases was roundly rejected by students, who wanted no increase at all.  On October 21 a large group of students got through the gates of Parliament, but police fired stun grenades to force them back.

Campuses around the country closed, with more clashes with police reported countrywide. On October 23, President Jacob Zuma announced that there would be no fee increase next year.

Manana also promised to join students again on Monday to give them answers to the demands they had presented. These included that they be given an unedited copy of a study into the feasibility of providing free tertiary education, and that the universities stop outsourcing workers.

The crowd was watched by a group of policemen and officials from Parliament. When things became rowdy, they checked themselves with a chant of "discipline".

Read more on:    blade nzimande  |  mduduzi manana  |  cape town  |  university fees

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