Johannesburg – Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Mduduzi Manana says credit must be given to the youth of 2015 for making FeesMustFall their generational struggle.
"The youth of 2015 took to the streets to fight for a noble cause, a noble struggle that we in the ANC support, of introducing free and quality education for the poor," Manana said on Thursday.
Manana was among the many government leaders attending national Youth Day celebrations at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto. He said government supported the stance of the youth and added they were not standing in the way of attaining free education.
"Back in 2013, government initiated a process and received a report from a task team to investigate whether it was feasible or not to introduce and implement free education," Manana said, adding that the recommendations they received were doable but required funding.
Not blocked free education
"We have not as government blocked free and quality education for the poor. We have engaged Treasury and that is what the president had done during the commission he has appointed to investigate where this money will come from," said Manana.
He said if resources allowed, they would implement it soon. He said reprioritising the fiscus of the country to allocate a larger portion to education would leave other departments in limbo. He said they would look at different avenues to generate the required funding.
"There are many proposals on the table. Others are saying we must introduce corporate tax while others are saying we must introduce wealth tax and others are saying we must increase the skills levy. We thank the youth and students of 2015 for taking up the struggle and defining their struggle to say 'we want free education'," he said.
Manana said the only thing government and the FeesMustFall movement differ is on free education for all. He said free education should only be provided for the poor while those who can afford to pay should pay for their children's education.
"The state can't afford free education for all. Those who are rich must take their children to university with their own money. We will have to classify what is poor to qualify for that," he said.
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