President Jacob Zuma may have told the country there would be a 0% increase in university fees next year, but Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande does not know how South Africa will pay for it, according to a report on Sunday.
Nzimande was quoted by the Sunday Times saying finding the around R3 billion needed to fund a freeze in university fees would be “a tough one”.
“We have to find the money somewhere. At the moment, we are asking our director-general of the Treasury and higher education to put their heads together to say where can we try to find money because we can’t leave our universities in the lurch,” Nzimande said.
“There is no tangible money now except the possibility of using surpluses from Setas [the sector education and training authorities]but I don’t think it will be able to cover the [total]shortfall.”
Nzimande’s director general in the higher education and training department, Gwebinkundla Qonde, was also quoted by the newspaper stating: “We don’t know where we will get the money, that’s a fact.”
Nzimande also said he had not consulted with Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene prior to Zuma’s announcement on Friday.
Zuma made the announcement from the Union Buildings on a day thousands of people marched to the seat of the presidency to protest high university fees, which later turned violent.
The march was preceded by a week of protests on campuses across the country against rising university fees, sparked by protests by Wits University students the week before.
While most campuses are expected to return to normal on Monday, Wits students have vowed to continue protesting, with the institution to remain closed.