University fee crisis under the spotlight in Parliament

2016-10-25 19:10
Blade Nzimande (Netwerk24)

Blade Nzimande (Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – The government has heard the legitimate calls for free education, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said on Tuesday.

In a speech similar to his September announcement on fee increases for 2017, Nzimande assured Parliament that government was listening to the students.

He reiterated government's interventions in subsidising fee increases for the poor, as well as the missing middle.

"We've heard the call from those students with legitimate concerns because as government we have regarded the issue of affordability of post-school education as an important matter and, in fact, free higher education is the policy of this government," he said.

DA MP Belinda Bozzoli referred to the current student protests across the country as the "worst educational crisis in history".

"We have a vacuum of leadership. It is a vacuum so vast that it has sucked into itself every possible leadership alternative. Anything goes at the moment in the rush to represent the poor," she said.

EFF MP Floyd Shivambu said fee free education was possible.

Levy on pension funds

"We stand here to dismiss the ideologically bankrupt and intellectually lazy notion that free education for all is impossible. It is possible."

He made various suggestions on how the funding could be sourced, including the introduction of an education levy on all pension funds.

This would mean free education would not be a burden on the fiscus, he said.

UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa proposed a multiparty delegation of young MPs to be sent out to various universities to engage students.

He also suggested that Nzimande make his presentation to students, as opposed to Parliament.

Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Mulder called for "criminal elements" who burned down property to be arrested.

Those who wanted to go back to class should be allowed to do so, he said.

Nzimande praised universities that were working to salvage what was left of the academic year, and called for students to go back to class.

Read more on:    blade nzimande  |  university protests  |  parliament 2016  |  university fees

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