Zuma can use discretion on student fee increases - commission

2016-08-10 18:41
President Jacob Zuma. (AFP)

President Jacob Zuma. (AFP)

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Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma will have to use his discretion regarding student fee increases for 2017, the commission appointed to look at the feasibility of free tertiary education said on Wednesday.

“Whether he will raise fees, that is for him to decide and we can’t make that decision for him,” Judge Jonathan Heher, chairperson of the commission of inquiry into higher education and training, said at the start of public hearings.

SA Union of Students leader Avela Mjajubana asked him why the commission asked for an extension to its time frame and what would happen with fee increments in 2017.

Heher said the matter was not as simple as it had initially appeared, which was why it would not be possible to present the final report within the allocated time. The commission was thus given an extension to June 2017.

He said it was not the commission’s task to make an interim recommendation on how another zero fee increase would be financed. The commission did not have the power to influence negotiations for next year’s fee increments.

The commission would submit its preliminary report in November, and it was up to Zuma to decide what to do with it.

“Whether the president will be able to act on our interim report in December, I doubt. The president will have to make up his mind on what should happen between now and submission of final report.  This is only an advisory report and not a binding report.”

The commission was established in January to examine eight focus areas, including South Africa’s post school education and training landscape, and the current funding of higher education and training institutions.

Read more on:    education  |  fees must fall

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