A five-point plan to finance the zero-fee increase promised by President Jacob Zuma today – in response to the massive #FeesMustFall protest by students – has been presented by Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane.
While welcoming the announcement of a 0% increase in tertiary fees for 2016‚ Maimane noted this was only a temporary relief for students‚ not the solution to the funding crisis that is at the heart of the problem.
“The 0% increase will provide short-term relief‚ but the systemic funding shortages and subsidy cuts from government were not addressed in today’s meeting‚” he said in a statement.
“Government agreed to no further funding today‚ and it would not agree to any bail-out of distressed and indebted students. This is a failure by President Zuma to take the bold steps necessary today to solve this crisis‚ rather than to defer it.”
Nevertheless‚ Maimane said there is money in the current fiscus that can be immediately reprioritised “in order to ensure that this commitment is not an empty promise. To this end‚ the DA will continue to proceed with its attempt to amend the budget in Parliament”.
This is the DA’s proposal: 1. R2 billion from the sale of government’s stake in Vodacom to higher education‚ currently allocated to the BRICS bank 2. R720 million allocated to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to offset the impact of the depreciation of the rand on foreign missions 3. An additional R69.7 million allocated to VIP Protection Services in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement Speech. 4. R67 million allocated immediately for the preparatory work on the planned nuclear build‚ which the DA maintains should be abandoned. 5. R1 billion from the skills levy‚ which according to the National Treasury the higher education and training system has significant resources that can be reprioritised.
“Over the coming weeks the DA will be using the budget amendment procedures given to Parliament in terms…. of the Constitution to fight for more funding for students‚” Maimane said.
“The outrage and mass mobilisation of students this past week has shown the magnitude of the student funding crisis in South Africa. This crisis has not been solved today‚ it has just been deferred for another year.”