Govt addresses #feesmustfall shortfall, textbook delivery in EC behind schedule

OCTOBER 28, 2015

An announcement is expected on Thursday as to where government is going to find the R2.6 billion that it needs to make up for the shortfall in the fiscus that resulted from government's decision scrap the 2016 university fee increases. Meanwhile, it emerged that the Eastern Cape will not meet the end of October deadline for the procurement of their workbooks and school textbooks.

The decision to scrap fee increases follows violent #feesmustfall protests at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU); University of Fort Hare; Rhodes University and Walter Sisulu University and other tertiary institutions across South Africa.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande told Parliament on Tuesday; “We are working out exactly what different sectors will contribute together with the minister of finance.”

He said a high level meeting with President Jacob Zuma and Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene would determine how they will plug the funding gap.

Nzimande said some of the money would be “reprioritised” from other programmes within his department.

 Eastern Cape textbooks

"In the Eastern Cape things are running a month behind schedule, but we are monitoring [it]," said Palesa Tyobeka the Basic Education Department's deputy director general for planning.

Delivering textbooks on time was a sore point for the department when textbooks were not delivered on time in Limpopo in 2012.

The committee was told that the province hoped to be ready by the end of November.

Tyobeka said that if there were shortages next year in other provinces, it would be because schools had to take in extra pupils.

Another of the department's priorities was to deliver toilets and toilet seats for pupils and teachers in line with enrolment numbers. This was to eradicate situations where one toilet was shared by up to 100 people.

This was a problem in rural areas in particular, the committee heard.

But, while the department painted a picture of things mostly under control, DA MP Desiree van der Walt said in the Eastern Cape, the 800 extra desks that were promised in a previous State of the Nation Address still have not arrived.

She said that the department in Limpopo had budgeted R34m for the provision of school furniture, which had not been spent.

"A huge number of school learners are sharing chairs, desks or sitting on the floor."

---additional reporting News24wire