Radebe vague on varsity fee talks within Cabinet

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe
Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe

While unrest is brewing again on the country’s campuses over tuition fees, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe was very vague about the way forward this morning at a media briefing after last week’s extended Cabinet lekgotla.

City Press reported yesterday that President Jacob Zuma had instructed Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan  to find the money to accommodate a second consecutive 0% student fee increase this year.

Read: #FeesMustFall: Find the money, says Zuma

This was despite the fact that Treasury had warned that the fiscus could not carry the burden.

Radebe sidestepped queries relating to the City Press report.

Although he claimed that education was one of the government’s top priorities, he did not provide details on tuition fees.

He said the president had appointed a commission of inquiry into higher education and training, and its mandate included tuition fees. He said that the position would be made known next year.

On the urgent issue of next year’s tuition fees, Radebe said there were consultations on the go, and that an announcement would be made “at an appropriate time”.

He said the budget was being “reprioritised” and money might be allocated for tuition fees.

Radebe also said that the Cabinet had not discussed the controversy surrounding the public broadcaster and its chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Responding to a query, he said: “We did not discuss the SABC and Motsoeneng in particular.”

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