CAPE TOWN, October 31 – The South African Students Congress (Sasco) was on Tuesday getting ready to march on Parliament to demand the release of the report into higher education fees.
Sasco provincial secretary Buyile Matiwane said the organisation wanted to see a progressive implementation of free education for the poor, which it said has been delayed since 2012.
Students were set to march to Parliament from at the Cape Town campus of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), the scene of violent protests in recent months around a number of issues, including the crippling cost of higher education.
President Jacob Zuma, in a statement at the weekend, said the presidency was “finalising the processing of the report which requires, among other things, that the President consult with the relevant Ministers to ensure that government is ready to implement the President’s decision as soon he releases the report”.
“The consultations with relevant Ministries is at an advanced stage and it is expected that it will be finalized during the course of next week,” the presidency statement added. “The President will release the report immediately thereafter.”
The march comes a week after the tabling of the Mid-term Budget speech by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, who, according to Sasco, had not reflected on issues relating to students’ requests and concerns around higher education costs.
“It seems issues relating to students are not a priority for the President,” Matiwane said. “The SABC board issue has now been resolved, while problems relating to students are shelved under the carpet. This cabinet reshuffle by the President is incomplete and has left young people of this country at bay.”
Sasco further said it noted with concern the vacancy of the deputy minister in the presidency responsible for youth.
Young people constitute the majority of the population, yet they remain marginalised, subject to high levels of unemployment, underdevelopment and poverty, and therefore, should be a priority in government activities and cabinet decision-making, the organisation added.
“We believe the only scorching matter that needs to be addressed by the President is the immediate release of the much awaited Fees Commission report and the pronouncement of free quality education.”
On 14 January 2016 Zuma established a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the feasibility of making higher education and training fee-free in South Africa.
The commission was chaired by Justice Arthur Heher who delivered a final report to the President on 30 August 2017.
– African News Agency (ANA)