Professor C T Msimang (IFP) asked the President: “With reference to the registration of university students in 2017‚ (a) has the Government reached consensus with students on whether there must be no tuition fees or that there shall be no increases in tuition fees and (b) what is the Government’s position and response to the demand that there must be no tuition fees‚ that is fees must fall?”
Zuma replied that after consultation with a wide range of stakeholders‚ including elected student leaders‚ government announced that all students at universities and TVET colleges from families with an income of up to R600‚000 will experience a 0% fee increment.
“This includes the poor and the so-called missing middle‚ who are students from households who have an annual income of between R120‚000 and R600‚000.”
“This follows the announcement of the Minister of Higher Education and Training [Blade Nzimande] on the 19th of August 2016 that the university fee increase for the 2017 academic year should be capped at 8 percent.”
“No institution has announced a fee increment of more than 8%. Government will carry a fee increase through a gap funding grant on behalf of all poor working class and missing middle families‚” he said.
Answering oral questions in the National Assembly‚ he said: “Government is committed to ensure affordable higher education for all and to support poor and working class students to access higher education and training.”
Earlier this year‚ the President established a commission of inquiry to look into the feasibility of fee free higher education and training in South Africa. He released its interim report earlier on Wednesday.
The President said the commission was yet to address five other areas‚ which include:
- The nature‚ accessibility and effectiveness of student funding by government;
- Private sector and foreign aid;
- The meaning and content of fee free higher education and training;
- Alternative sources of funding;
- Social economic and financial implications of fee free higher education and training and the extent of such a provision.
The final report is expected on 30 June 2017.