13 November 2017

South Africa: Zuma Must Clarify If Fees Report Will Be Implemented - DA

The Democratic Alliance says President Jacob Zuma needs to clarify if the Heher Commission report on the funding of higher education will form the basis of his government's policy going forward.

Zuma on Monday finally released the anticipated 752-page report, saying his office is still working through its recommendations in formulating a plan for the sector.

Among the findings of the Heher Commission was that there was currently no capacity for the state to provide free tertiary education to all students in the country, opting for a multi-layered funding model.

Zuma should now clarify what role the report will play in his plans for the sector going forward, DA MP Belinda Bozzoli said in a statement on Monday.

"The President, who has been studying the report for more than two months now, must tell South Africa whether or not this report will form the basis of the ANC government's new funding model for Higher Education," Bozzoli said.

Bozzoli described "bizarre rumours" that Zuma looks set to ignore the findings of the multi-million rand report - in favour of a populist model developed by a student - as "chilling".

City Press reported on Sunday that Zuma was looking to find the R40bn shortfall by cutting social grant programmes and increasing Value Added Tax against the advice of National Treasury.

"Ordinarily, these rumours could be dismissed with the contempt they deserve, but we have seen, time and time again, that President Zuma will put his own interests above the best interests of South Africans," she said.

"If he sees it as being in his interests to give priority to a populist and unsustainable proposal, over a taxpayer-funded, professionally produced Commission, he might well do so."

The country's institutions ultimately needed the uncertainty to end.

"The President must publicly dismiss the bizarre rumours and confirm whether the recommendations contained in the report will form the basis of a new, sustainable funding model for Higher Education in South Africa."

Bozzoli also welcomed the "professionalism and richness" of the Heher Report and would study it further, she added.

Source: News24

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