While everyone is celebrating the additional R5 billion allocation to higher education in SA 2017 budget, the Democratic Alliance (DA) party upheld that the R5 billion is not enough to address real student crisis issues.
The Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, announced a substantial additional allocation to higher education while he was presenting his budget statement.
R5 billion will be added to the R32 billion previously announced, Gordhan specified. He said:
“…In addition to the increases of R32 billion we made in the higher education allocations in last year’s Budget and the 2016 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, we have added a further R5 billion…”.
Commenting on the additional allocation, Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana welcomed the additional funds saying:
“We are quite happy, this is a significant contribution and it will certainly go a long away.
So we are excited that there was an add-on, it is a major contribution. There is no programme of government that grows in this manner.
It shows government is indeed serious about education. Government has made education its apex priority and these contributions are a testament to that.”
To the DA however, the Higher education budget of an additional R5 billion for 2017/18 to assist poor students, is a short-term solution.
It is nowhere near the amount needed in the Higher Education Sector to sustain the Universities and Colleges in the longer term, DA upheld.
“The Minister knows perfectly well that tens of billions more is required to put the sector back on an even keel after decades of neglect,” stated the party.
Also, DA expressed that the Minister of Finance should have announced a significant increase to the higher education infrastructure allocation which would have allowed for the building of more student accommodation and facilities.
“That is why we need a comprehensive spending review which would make more funds available for helping the lost generation, specifically so that they can access the higher education sector,” DA added.