Use Vodacom sale to fund universities - DA

2015-10-25 15:44
DA (Supplied)

DA (Supplied)

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Johannesburg - Government should consider using the R2bn from selling its stake in Vodacom to fund universities' funding shortfall, the DA said on Sunday.

Another R1bn could be allocated from the skills levy surplus, or the R720m allocated to the international relations department to offset the depreciation of the rand, higher education spokesperson Belinda Bozzoli said in a statement.

Universities faced a funding shortfall of around R3bn after President Jacob Zuma's announcement on Friday that tuition fees would not increase next year. He did not say where the money to fund the shortfall would come from.

The decision came after over a week of countrywide protests by students against fee increases for 2016 in excess of 10%.

The Sunday Times quoted Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande as saying one potential source was using surpluses from the Sector Education and Training Authorities, but that this would not cover 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.

Bozzoli said government missed an opportunity to address university funding in Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene's medium-term budget policy statement delivered at Parliament on Wednesday. 

Since this did not happen, the DA would try to amend the national budget through Parliament's standing committee on appropriations. The committee would sit on Tuesday.

Bozzoli said fellow MP Malcolm Figg tabled a letter to committee chairperson Paul Mashatile during Friday's sitting. In the letter, Figg asked the committee to ask Parliament's budget office for help in amending the relevant legislation.

Read more on:    da  |  blade nzimande  |  protests  |  parliament 2015  |  education  |  university fees

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