Government must leave workers' money alone – Cosatu on Fees Commission

2017-11-13 19:12
Cosatu supporters (File, Khothatso Mokone, AP)

Cosatu supporters (File, Khothatso Mokone, AP)

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WATCH: Five highlights from fees report

2017-11-13 16:11

Don't have time to read the full fees commission report? Can't make sense of it? Here are the five main points to take away. Watch. WATCH

Johannesburg – Cosatu will reject the proposed ring-fencing of R50bn from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) for technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges, the trade union federation said on Monday.

The Fees Commission that investigated the feasibility of free tertiary education recommended that the UIF's surplus money be used to fund infrastructure development for TVET colleges.

Should President Jacob Zuma adopt the recommendations as they stand, the use of UIF funds would have to be tabled at the National Economic Development and Labour Council. Cosatu said it would oppose the recommendation there.

The commission, led by retired Judge Jonathan Heher, found that while fee-free tertiary education was not feasible, students from TVET colleges should be fully funded as the country stands to benefit more from TVET graduates than university graduates.

"The evidence before the commission regarding technical education is clear: successful economies place an emphasis on producing technically qualified, work-oriented 'graduates' in numbers which outweigh those of university graduates," the Fees Commission report released by President Jacob Zuma states.

READ: What Zuma does with fees commission report is entirely up to him - Heher

But Cosatu said while it supports free education in principle, government must "stay away from workers' money". R99bn UIF surplus "Government must go find the money somewhere else," spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said.

"There are billions of rands from the fiscus that are misappropriated, why doesn't government go after that money? It shows they are not ready to pursue the developmental goals including free education," he said. Reports in 2016 indicated that the UIF had a surplus of almost R99bn.

"You can't have the Public Protector's reports, Auditor-General's reports and others pointing to nefarious activities including corruption and [yet] we don't see government going after the people, prosecuting them and attaching their assets," Pamla said.

"We can't have government waste money, not hold anyone accountable and then go after workers' money," he said.

Cosatu recently criticised Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba over reports that his department wanted to use R100bn of pension funds held by the Public Investment Corporation to bail out state-owned SAA.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  jacob zuma  |  education

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