National 22.9.2016 07:31 am

Big business ‘must pay for free tuition’

Students march around campus during a protest at Wits University, 21 September 2016. Students are protesting for free education and the decolonisation of education. Picture: Michel Bega

Students march around campus during a protest at Wits University, 21 September 2016. Students are protesting for free education and the decolonisation of education. Picture: Michel Bega

The idea of a wealth tax has been mooted as a possible solution to funding free (or at least freer) education.

The SA Communist Party (SACP) and labour federation Cosatu are punting a proposal for big business to contribute to subsidising free education for all students through a wealth tax.

They also vowed to fight side by side with students, adding that they were consulting with students about a national day of action.

However, the two leftist allies commended Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande’s decision that there would be no fee increases for students from poor and lower middle class backgrounds for 2017.

“They (business) need to be engaged to pay in a way that will benefit everybody, so that everybody gets free education,” Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said.

“The rich must contribute to the wellbeing of the country.”

Cosatu and the SACP will support a student march on October 14 to the Chamber of Mines headquarters in Johannesburg to call on the body to make a meaningful financial contribution towards free education.

“The SACP and Cosatu are urging students to redirect their mobilisation to the doorsteps of capital, which is where the problem emanates from, rather than fight against the government that is trying its level best to expand access to post-school education,” Ntshalintshali said.

Both organisations condemned the violent nature of the current protests, which have seen university property burnt and vandalised.

They also called on students currently boycotting to return to lectures and use dialogue to achieve their demand for free education.

“We are not defending the government, but we are fully cognisant of the intervention that has been made,” Dlamini said.

SACP second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila added that all state-owned enterprises must guard against corruption.

“Many criminals and looters will get away with murder, like the Guptas.

“It is unacceptable for these institutions to pay service providers before they do the work,” Mapaila said.

 

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