Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande says rich students must subsidise those who cannot afford education.
He told textile union Sactwu’s national congress on Thursday that a free tertiary education was not practical in South Africa at present.
Nzimande said there was an all-round crisis in education, with the entire school system in need of a revamp.
He was speaking as the SA Communist Party’s General Secretary and not as Higher Education Minister.
“We have to understand what we are faced with in higher education by not only looking at higher education. We must be looking at the entire post-school sector that needs to be supported.”
He also distanced himself from a call yesterday by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe to close universities if the violent protests continue. Mantashe said: “I’m not the minister of education. Because if I was, my first reaction would be to close them. For six months. And open them after 6 months and close the residences for 6 months.”
Nzimande said that would absolutely be the last resort.
“Parents and many students do not like what is happening. So yes, the SG — it was his own particular of putting it. Of course if we feel that life and limb is in danger we will advise university of=r college management to close those institutions in order to save lives and to save property.”
Nzimande said government was monitoring campuses closely and called for calm among students.