Opposition party, the DA has lashed out on President Jacob Zuma for excluding the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in the list of the recently established ministerial Task Team.
According to the statement released by the presidency, Zuma established a ministerial Task Team made up of nine ministers who are expected to come up with a lasting solution to the chaotic state of tertiary institutions in the country following the recently increased fee for the next academic session.
The team has the likes of Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor, Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr. Bonginkosi “Blade” Nzimande, Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe.
Reacting to this release, the DA said the decision to not include the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, in a newly formed Ministerial Task Team on Higher Education is baffling and questionable.
The party said Zuma’s inclusion of the Ministers of Home Affairs and Defence indicates that he and the ANC are out of touch with the crisis engulfing our Higher Education sector.
“At the heart of the crisis is the chronic under-funding of higher education over the last decade. This has resulted in Universities being forced to rely on student fees as a major source of income, making it more difficult for poor students to access tertiary education.
“If the government does not provide more funding for higher education, through increased state subsidies to universities, and more support for NSFAS, fee increases will continue in the future, as will the cyclical unrest associated with it,” DA noted.
Speaking further, the opposition party said if Zuma was really serious about finding a long-term solution to this, he would have wanted his best minds around the table, including his Minister of Finance. This is especially the case when any funding solution will have to go through the budget process, which Minister Gordhan oversees.
“One can only assume that his decision not to include such a critical minister in this team is due to internal party politics. If this is true, it shows yet again that Jacob Zuma more interested in his own power, than ensuring the future of young South Africans is protected,” the Party added.
The DA also reiterated the need for universities to re-open adding that those who break the law be held accountable through the criminal justice system.