Statistician General Pali Lehohla said there are more important issues the South African government under the leadership of president Jacob Zuma is yet to provide for South Africans as part of their rights, aside the controversial Free Higher education.
Speaking at the financial statistics of higher education institutions at the department of communications in Hatfield, Pretoria, Lehohla said the SA society had to change its priorities to meet the rising demand for free higher education.
To him also, free university education in South Africa cannot be achieved unless the SA society lift educational level from the 18th place it’s been for a long time
“Politicians at local government elections corroborated society’s priorities. They never spoke of education. Water, electricity, jobs and service delivery are the things that bother South Africans, not education,” he said referring to the period from January 1 to December 31, 201 where he said higher education institutions had a good increase in income totaling R63.1 billion- a R4.9 billion increase from the 2014.
“Between the 2014 and 2015 financial years, cash income from ‘other receipts’ increased by R3.4 billion, from R32.8 billion in 2014 to R36.2 billion in 2015. This was mainly due to increases in sales of goods and services and tuition fees by the University of South Africa, the University of Pretoria and the University of Witswatersrand,” Pali Lehohla explained
However, grants received across the 20 universities and six universities of technology last year reportedly reached R26.9 billion, a R1.5 billion hike from the previous year.
“This can largely be attributed to an increase in transfer payments from the higher education department to University of Witswatersrand, Sol Plaatje University and the inclusion of Sefako Makgato Health Science University in the 2015 financial year,”the statistic expert explained.
Noted on the Citizen, higher education institution also received a total of R4 billion in donations while varsities had to source out up to R541.1 billion in 2015 needed for operating activities which includes compensation of employees, which had increased by 13.9% to R31.4 billion.
“Water and 16 other things matter more than free education,” Lehohla reiterated,
“The increase in expenditure on compensation of employees was mainly due to an increase in remuneration paid to employees by the University of South Africa, North West University and the first time inclusion of Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University in the 2015 financial year.”
Pali Lehohla added that universities had a high enrollment of students, as some had failed to complete their degrees in the allocated time, resulting in close to 1 million students registered in universities.