The Higher Education Transformation Network (HETN) said it was deeply concerned that the zero percent fee increment of 2016 benefited not only poor students but also the children of the rich, together with those who hold bursaries from the private sector.
“The time has come for us to draw the line between the poor and the rich, and rich students should not get the benefits that are reserved for poor students.
“In the same way that Nsfas (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) is reserved for the poor, the fee increments must affect the rich.
“We propose no fees only for the poor, but academically deserving and the rich who can afford to pay must continue to pay,” said HETN spokesperson Hendrick Makaneta.
He said they were still concerned about the unresolved plight of the “missing middle” students. These are students who do not qualify for the financial aid scheme or for bank loans.
“We call on the minister to work to find lasting solutions to this category of students,” Makaneta said.
The network has praised Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande for his efforts in trying to find solutions to the pressing challenges faced by both students and university managers. The network said Nzimande was currently finding himself in a very difficult situation.
“When students demand accommodation, they don’t march to the department of human settlements but to the office of the minister.
“When students demand free education, they don’t march to Treasury or the JSE, they march to the minister’s office – and when students demand electricity, they don’t march to Eskom, they march to the minister’s office.”