The Universities SA CEO, Ahmed Bawa has come up with a new pro proposal that will help universities to finance free education in South Africa.
It says working graduates will have to pay a special “graduate tax”.
Bawa who was speaking with The Times made known this new tax proposal following #FeesMustFall protests in 2015, and the subsequent move by government to introduce 0% fee increases in 2016.
He said South African universities have come under severe financial strain and that universities need to look at other funding mechanisms to survive while achieving the goal of free tertiary education.
The therefore proposed that a graduate tax would be one of such avenues the SA government will explore to aid Universities financing.
“Irrespective of when they studied, employed graduates should make some contribution to the fees of those coming after them,” Bawa said.
Earlier in July, most universities in south Africa claimed to be facing huge financial crack down because a large percentage of students still owe more than 50% of their fees for 2016.
This was revealed by the Democratic Alliance which cited a circular sent to enrolled students, saying SA universities like the Rhodes University “now has less than two months of funds to cover its financial commitments such as salaries, electricity, water and food for the dining halls” while other institutes like Stellenbosch, have heavyweight donors backing them.
However, Bawa’s introduction of new tax for working students hasn’t gone down well with economists who argue that the working populace has been overtaxed and that government should focus on what it wants taxpayers to pay for, rather than milking them for everything.
Struggling students owe over R6 billion in student fee debt, with over 400,000 defaulting on their loans. However, the department revealed that it will in few weeks come up with its plans for the 2017 fees