I don't decide fee increases, universities do - Nzimande

Blade Nzimande (File, City Press)
Blade Nzimande (File, City Press)

Johannesburg - The decision to increase fees comes down to individual universities and not the ministry of higher education, Minister Blade Nzimande said on Monday.

"I don't want to take problems that are not mine. Fees are decided by individual institutions legally, it's not the ministry who decides," he told reporters in Johannesburg.

Nzimande said given the sensitivity of the Fees Must Fall movement, and the necessity to have a common framework, government's job is to provide consultation and drive a framework.

"But fees are still going to be decided by individual institutions guided by a framework that is agreeable out of this process," he said.

Nzimande urged student formations to make a submission to the presidential commission so that they could "influence it".

"We think it's not correct to make a demand... and then when a platform is there you pull out."

He said the decision on a fee increase would be made in the next two weeks.

'Free education'

"In a week or two we should have arrived at a common understanding."

He denied that there was no free education, saying that some previously black universities were mostly filled with those on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

"It's incorrect [to say] that there is no free higher education. There is free higher education. It's just that it has not reached everybody... We [are on the] same side as the students. The issue is that of modality."

The South African Union of Students (SAUS), which claims to be the largest federation of student governance representation, says it has lost patience with the government and will accept nothing but a 0% fee increase in all universities in 2017.

While government deliberates over next year's university fees, student leaders have threatened to shut down universities across the country should the government implement a fee increase.

Nzimande received a report from the Council on Higher Education on recommendations for 2017 fee adjustments on Thursday, and decided that further consultation was required. He had been expected to make an announcement on Friday, but the briefing was cancelled.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Is social media doing more harm than good?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, our children are exposed and we can't protect them
49% - 3976 votes
Yes, but social media is part of the new reality
46% - 3680 votes
No, it's great for growing a child's world view
5% - 397 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.26
+0.4%
GBP/ZAR
19.81
+0.3%
EUR/ZAR
17.20
+0.3%
AUD/ZAR
11.08
+0.2%
JPY/ZAR
0.13
+0.2%
Gold
1,820.75
+0.3%
Silver
27.35
+0.2%
Palladium
2,938.00
-0.4%
Platinum
1,259.50
+0.3%
Brent Crude
68.09
-1.3%
Top 40
62,452
+1.2%
All Share
68,394
+1.2%
Resource 10
71,712
+2.5%
Industrial 25
86,448
+0.4%
Financial 15
12,634
+0.5%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo