By BO Staff Writer
President Jacob Zuma has put his foot down on higher education fee increases and to this end has instructed both Dr Blande Nzimande (Minister of Higher Education and Training) and Pravin Gordhan (Minister of Finance) to freeze any fee increase for another year. Last year the government was forced by militant student protest action to announce a zero percent increase on fees. Sources say that in a heated meeting and at an hotel in Pretoria, President Zuma had told both Pravin and Blade (who had been agitating for a fee increase) that the status qou shall remain.
Zuma is said to have come out guns blazing against Blade Nzimande who wanted a 6% increase on fees. Blade was said to be supported by Pravin in this respect. The two are said to be communists but they are the darlings of white capital and wanted to squeeze the already impoverished black students. It was Zuma who came out as the hero of FREE EDUCATION as the two insisted on the protection of fiscal discipline against the fundamental right to education.
The white owned media has already started a campaign to rubbish Zuma’s support for zero fee increase as well as for an extension of time to be given to the Commission on Free Education to finalize it’s business. The neo liberal media says government can’t afford another no fee increase. There are also neo liberal officials in Treasury who are feeding the lie that zero fee increase would impact negatively on essential services like health care. This is a scare tactic to protect neo liberal economic policy interests against the interests of the people. The good thing is that President Zuma has refused to listen to such deceptive reasoning.
Both Pravin Gordhan and Blande Nzimande know very well that there are enough resources for free education locked up in white capital. The Black First Land First Students Movement (BLF -SM) has already called on government to hasten the recovery of the R26 billion stolen by apartheid era white capitalists and institutions. Part of this money must be used towards realizing free quality education.