DA misleading about varsity fees - ministry

2015-11-15 16:16
Blade Nzimande. (File: Beeld)

Blade Nzimande. (File: Beeld)

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Johannesburg - The higher education ministry on Sunday accused the Democratic Alliance of misleading South Africans about how a shortfall in university fees will be handled.

“The DA is communicating false information to misled the nation and create a storm in the teacup,” ministerial spokesperson Khaye Nkwanyana told News24 in an email.

Earlier this week, DA member of parliament Belinda Bozzoli said in a statement that her party believed that Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande was planning to bridge the shortfall in university funding for 2016 in a manner that would especially disadvantage students at poorer universities and technical and vocational education and training [TVET] colleges.

“Of the R1.9bn the Minister has sourced to bridge the gap, R361m will be plundered from the Historically Disadvantaged Institutions (HDI) development grant and R1.2 bn will be taken from SETAs [Sector Education and Training Authority].”

Bozzoli said that the HDI grant was needed by institutions like the University of Fort Hare who were on the brink of bankruptcy.

“The SETA surplus, which itself arose from poor management and negligent underspending at SETAs, had already been earmarked to fund important projects in the TVET sector.”

Nkwanyana, however, said that director-generals from the Department of Higher Education and Training, the Treasury and the Presidenct were part of a task team that was “still finalising the financial details” of how the shortfall would be handled.

The details of the financial shortfall will be announce by the President in due course”.

Only for the poor

He said that, as such, “the DA must wait for that announcement rather than speculating on unfounded information”?

Following university student protests, dubbed the #FeesMustFall campaign, across the country over the last few weeks, President Jacob Zuma announced that that fees will not be increased next year.

Speaking in Parliament earlier this week, Nzimande said that the government’s policy on free higher education was only for the poor.

 “Those who are calling for everyone [to study for free], we can’t afford that as a country,” Nzimande told a committee on higher education.

“Wealthy students must pay.”

At the time, Nzimande said some money had been diverted from the Seta for scarce skills education, but insisted that it would not become a “milking cow” or a war chest.

Read more on:    blade nzimande  |  #feesmustfall  |  education

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