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Funding crisis: “Nzimande has no plan where to source funds from” - DA

Funding crisis: “Nzimande has no plan where to source funds from” - DA

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has again hit out at embattled Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, over his cancelling of a meeting where the department was to provide details on how it planned to source the R2.7-billion needed to fund tertiary institutions.

Last week, President Jacob Zuma announced that the department’s proposed six percent fee increase for 2016, had been suspended after wide-scale student protests resulted in the closing of a number of universities and delaying of exams.

In a statement, DA Shadow Minister of Higher Education, Belinda Bozzoli said Nzimande’s failure to address the matter, would plummet the department into further crisis as the now abolished increase would have to be funded by the existing already constrained budget.

“If this does not happen, Universities will be forced to make cuts, that will result in job losses, undermine the quality of the education, and prevent innovative research which our economy so desperately needs,” Bozzoli said.

She also added that resolving the matter would require “bold leadership” but that Nzimande “seems determined to continue with his “crisis, what crisis approach”.

“To date, Minister Nzimande has brought no ‘intervention plan’ to the Portfolio Committee despite being summoned to Parliament, irresponsibly implied that his Department would try and raid the Basic Education Budget and blamed everyone but his own government for the chronic underfunding of higher education. He remains a man without a plan on higher education,” Bozzoli said.

It since been reported that a number of students from the University of Cape Town and Cape University of Technology, had gathered outside Parliament to handover a memorandum of understanding, following last week’s chaos when riot police fired stun grenades and tear gas at students who made it to the steps of the National Assembly, while Finance Minister Nhlanhla was tabling his mid-term budget.