Drop bloated Cabinet, ‘vanity projects' to fund free higher education - EE

2016-09-05 12:08
(Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

(Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Government should look to its bloated Cabinet and "vanity projects" as a mechanism to increase its funding for higher education institutions, Equal Education (EE) said on Monday.

Addressing the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training in Cape Town, EE officers argued that universities could not, and must not, be expected to carry the burden of free tertiary education.

EE’s parliamentary officer Andile Cele said that government funding had gone down over the years and that tuition fees had overtaken third stream funding.

"A 0% increase on R150 000 is still a lot of money… If the burden is on the student, you will find that the majority of black people and poor people will not access higher education."

Evidence leader Advocate Kameshni Pillay said that the Treasury had already indicated the "cake" had only so many slices.

Cele smiled and referred to the country’s large Cabinet.

"You have deputy, deputy directors, you have acting acting director generals. If you streamline those positions, you will have funding. There is money when you look for it."

"SAA; Eskom are always looking for bailouts. The stadiums [for the World Cup], we found the money."

Commissioner Leah Khumalo asked what they meant by government urgently reviewing so-called "vanity projects".

Cele replied: "Remodelling the president’s houses and certain officers getting private jets."

EE recommended that a determined state would also examine personal taxation, which could be levied for the top 10% of taxpayers.

It felt no student, who met the requirements for university admission, should be excluded for financial reasons.

'Problem starts in Grade 1'

EE said there was a systematic problem, with challenges in basic education following black students into higher education.

"The problem starts in Grade 1; Grade 2 - in the ECD (early childhood development sector). They spend eight hours a day drawing and colouring in," said Cele.

"Your white counterpart that goes to an ECD centre in Rondebosch will be building blocks and counting ‘1,2,3’. That difference is already established in the early years."

Assuming money was found, Pillay asked whether higher education should be prioritised or whether basic education or other departments were perhaps needier.

Cele replied that all departments needed money, but that education was very vital. Sometimes it was not the funding that was a problem, but the way it was used.

She argued that the higher education sector had more autonomy.

"If you give them the money, you trust they are able to handle the additional allocations."

The Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training was established following the Fees Must Fall protests, which demanded a 0% fee increase.

The first set of hearings was for the commission to receive an overview of the relevant issues from various organisations.

Hearings will also take place in Bloemfontein and Kimberley this week.

Read more on:    equal education  |  education  |  university fees

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.