Public school fees shocking - minister

2012-10-28 21:30
Angie Motshekga (File, Sapa)

Angie Motshekga (File, Sapa)

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

Johannesburg - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is “shocked” and “angry” at how much it will cost to attend some government schools next year – but says there is nothing she can do about it.

Parent bodies of top state schools across the country have been meeting this month to decide on fee increases, and some have hiked them to more than R30 000 a year.

Last week, Motshekga accused school governing bodies of “privatising public education” and making it “unaffordable for most parents”.

According to a snap survey conducted by City Press, the most expensive school was Durban’s Westville High School, which will cost R31 111 next year.

However, others may still charge more.

Cape Town’s Marist Brothers’ Junior Primary School, a fee-paying government school, which cost R30 834 for Grade 7 pupils this year, has yet to decide on its fees for next year.

Other schools which are still to decide on their increases were Johannesburg's Parktown Boys’ High School, which cost R28 850 this year; and Port Elizabeth’s Grey High School, which cost R28 320.

Motshekga railed against “galloping” school fees, which “somehow needed to be contained”.


She said: “It’s a big problem and even [former education] minister Naledi Pandor tried to address it. But unfortunately there is nothing we can do as, by law, school governing bodies and parents are responsible for approving budgets.

“It’s a major concern. It means if you have three children in one such school, you could pay up to R100 000 per annum, which is unaffordable for most parents.

“It is actually privatising public education and we are quite concerned.”

Public schools are classified into fee-paying schools, under which most former Model C schools fall; and non fee-paying schools, which include most peri-urban, township and rural schools.

But Paul Colditz, the CEO of the Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools (Fedsas), said many schools had no choice but to raise their fees because of hikes in electricity tariffs and other municipal services.

They also had to increase the salaries of the additional teachers they employ to keep class sizes down.

Colditz said fee-paying schools were divided into three categories.

The first charge between R5 000 and R12 000 a year and have few sports facilities, extramural activities or additional subjects.

The second charge up to R20 000 and offer above-average sporting facilities, extramural activities and additional subjects.

The highest category of schools, he said, cost up to R31 000 a year and were attended by wealthy children who enjoy the best sports facilities, music classes, teachers for extra subjects and a wide array of extramural activities.

“In 2008, the average cost per pupil per year was R4 000 for primary schools and R6 000 for high schools,” Colditz said.

He predicted a survey by Fedsas next year will show that the average cost for primary schools is between R6 000 and R7 000, and between R8 000 and R12 000 for high schools. Colditz said there were “dramatic changes” since their last survey.

Municipal accounts, electricity

The big culprit, he said, is rising municipal accounts, “not even to mention electricity”.

Economist Mike Schüssler, said electricity prices rose by 142% in the last four years and it is placing more and more consumers, among which are schools, into debt.

“People can simply not afford electricity any more,” said Schüssler.

In Limpopo and Eastern Cape, he said, there are schools with 19 vacant posts which are filled by temporary teachers who have to be paid.

“The school will either go down or the governing body will step in and provide support staff.

“All schools spend 50% of their budget on teachers, additional teachers and support staff,” he said.

But not everyone believes the fees are justified.

Matakanye Matakanye, the secretary of the National Association of School Governing Bodies, said: “We abhor these types of fees. It’s a rip-off. These schools are created by the middle class and the rich to exclude the poor.

“They are privatising these schools and it’s a struggle that we have to take on.”


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Note 16GB

GALAXY Note combines the market's largest HD Super AMOLED display,...

From R3899.00

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. more

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 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.