Parliament should solve fees crisis - IFP

2016-09-08 15:46
One of the protesters during the height of the #FeesMustFall protest. (News24)

One of the protesters during the height of the #FeesMustFall protest. (News24)

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Cape Town - Parliament, not President Jacob Zuma's fees commission, should solve the growing university fees crisis in the country, the IFP said on Thursday.

"Student movements are becoming restless and angry by the non-response of government and institutions," IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa told the National Assembly.

"If another fees protest spirals out of control, it could jeopardise another school year. We must now confront the reality."

He said the fees commission was a "compromised exercise" and a sorry attempt to placate students. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme had too many shortcomings.

Last year’s 0% fee increase was a desperate attempt to placate students, without a clear plan in place, he said. Parliament should set up an ad hoc committee to deal with the fees crisis.

"We cannot continue on this trajectory of empty rhetoric," Hlengwa said.

'The ANC has messed up'

DA MP Belinda Bozzoli described a scenario where all 26 universities would lose their top staff, students and administrators if the status quo was maintained.

"Everybody agrees that government has messed up on funding higher education. Even Minister Blade Nzimande acknowledged that it was a mistake to expand so rapidly without funding."

Government had to start footing the majority of the bill, as both students and the private sector could not be expected to carry the burden.

EFF MP Leigh-Ann Mathys said it was a waste of time to expect the ANC-led government to institute free higher education after 22 years of democracy.

"When government stops looting, then this government could easily get the money."

'Much has been achieved'

ANC MP Cornelia September said much had been achieved since the first democratic election.

"We now have a million students in our public institutions, a significant increase since 1994."

The ANC had to ensure government remained one of the major funders of higher education and find a sustainable higher education model.

Nzimande was not present at Thursday’s debate.

Zuma established the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training in January, following countrywide protests against university fee increases late last year. It is investigating the feasibility of free higher education and currently holding public hearings.

Read more on:    #feesmustfall  |  parliament 2016

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