SACP slams Zuma's handling of fees report release

2017-11-13 19:11
(Phill Magakoe, AFP)

(Phill Magakoe, AFP)

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Cape Town – The SACP has slammed the "appalling" conduct of President Jacob Zuma with regards to his two-month-long wait to release the Heher Commission report on higher education funding.

Zuma on Monday finally released the anticipated 752-page report, saying his office was still working through its recommendations in formulating a funding plan for the sector.

The SACP on Monday said it was deeply concerned about the circumstances under which Zuma finally released the report, including the sacking of SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande as higher education minister.

Nzimande was the only minister removed from Zuma's Cabinet in last month's reshuffle.

"In closing the national policy conference of the African National Congress held in July, the president announced that the report was ready," SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo said.

"President Zuma shared the report, according to undisputed media reports, with his alleged son-in-law or boyfriend of his daughter, while he did not share it with then minister of higher education and training Dr Blade Nzimande."

ALSO READ: #FeesMustFall: Education minister in the dark on Zuma’s fees decision

Mashilo said Zuma's hand was ultimately forced, and he only released the report "under duress" and threat of imminent court action.

"This occurred against the background of widespread public concerns about the emergence, existence and operations of parallel state mechanisms which undermine or subordinate democratically established state authorities provided for in our Constitution," he charged.

"The SACP denounces the appalling conduct involving parallel state mechanisms and the handling of government affairs centred on one's family and those who enjoy proximity to the powers that be."

He said the party would study the report's contents further.

'Bizarre rumours'

Among the findings of the Heher Commission was that there was currently no capacity for the state to provide free tertiary education to all students in the country. It recommended a multi-layered funding model.

READ: SA doesn't have money for free higher education - Heher Commission

The DA meanwhile says Zuma needs to clarify if the Heher Commission report on the funding of higher education will form the basis of his government's policy going forward.

"The president, who has been studying the report for more than two months now, must tell South Africa whether or not this report will form the basis of the ANC government's new funding model for higher education," DA spokesperson on higher education Belinda Bozzoli said.

Bozzoli described "bizarre rumours" that Zuma looks set to ignore the findings of the multi-million rand report – in favour of a populist model developed by his son-in-law – as "chilling".

"The president must publicly dismiss the bizarre rumours and confirm whether the recommendations contained in the report will form the basis of a new, sustainable funding model for higher education in South Africa."

City Press reported on Sunday that Zuma was looking to find the R40bn shortfall for a higher education funding plan by cutting social grant programmes and increasing Value Added Tax against the advice of National Treasury.

Read more on:    sacp  |  jacob zuma  |  university fees

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