National 25.8.2016 04:50 pm

SA universities ‘in financial crisis’

University students outside the  gates at Vaal University  in Johannesburg. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

University students outside the gates at Vaal University in Johannesburg. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

A reply to a DA parliamentary question has revealed the extent of the financial crisis faced by university’s across the country.

At least 16 out of 26 South African universities are facing a financial crisis, the DA said on Thursday.

A reply to a DA parliamentary question has revealed the extent of the financial crisis faced by university’s across the country.

“The reply reveals that 16 out of the 26 universities in South Africa, or a staggering 62%, will face financial distress in the 2017/18 year,” said DA MP Belinda Bozzoli.

“Specifically, the aggregate deficit across these 16 universities is projected to be R3.97 billion for the same financial year.”

She said the extent of the financial distress was based on modelling conducted by the Council on Higher Education (CHE). This was most likely attributable to the protracted under-funding of our university sector for more than two decades.

She said the DA was able to identify R2.73 billion in the 2016/17 budget, which could have been transferred to assist poor students as well as give universities enough subsidies to pay the bills.

“The financial crisis at universities has a massive impact on the poorest of students, putting their futures at risk. It will also have far-reaching knock on implications for our economy as essential research produced at universities is put under pressure.”

She said the DA would continue seeking a long-term solution to the problem of affordable quality higher education.

She identified the affected universities as Walter Sisulu University, University of Limpopo, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of the Witwatersrand, Tshwane University of Technology, Rhodes University, University of Fort Hare, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Central University of Technology, Vaal University of Technology, University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape, Mangosuthu University of Technology, North West University, University of Johannesburg and University of Venda.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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