The esteemed William Saunderson-Meyer in his article, “A Zuma Timebomb Explodes” dated 19 March 2021 misreads our policy stance relating to free access to higher education for the poor as well as our proposals on additional funding to recapitalize NSFAS. William Saunderson-Meyer writes:-
“….billions of rands have been spent on expanding tertiary access to the point that 90% of the population, as determined by a household means test, qualifies. “The universities, donor organisations and big business were bludgeoned by the government into assisting, although most realised that this was likely to be an ever-expanding and bottomless pit. So it has proved to be. Student demands have each year become more extravagant and in 2021, yet again, the money has run out and the fresh-faced revolutionaries are running amok. “
This year the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) needs another R7bn on top of the R42bn it is already spending. In protest, the SA Union of Students this week sought to close down all 26 universities until their demands for zero fee increases and for all historical debt to be written off are met.”
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa requires that all citizens have access to education and equal access to educational institutions. Education and training is vital to the development of society because it is through education and training that men and women can be better prepared for life.
It is an empirical fact that there exists a strategic link between higher education access, poverty eradication, social mobility, economic competitiveness and social justice as well an increase in the labour productivity of a nation’s economy. The strategic link between national educational levels, literacy, economic competitiveness as well as individual income has long been established (Nelson & Phelphs, 1966)
According to Nelson & Phelphs (1966), “macro-economic growth and investment levels of nations are complementary with the educational levels of the nation’s workforce corps”