Hlomelang: Official Online Publication of the ANCYL
ANCYL Constitution: as amended and adopted by the 25th National Congress September 2015
Hlomelang: Vol. 13 No. 1: 25 July  07 August 2016
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University Fee Increments for 2017

20 September 2016

The African National Congress Youth League has noted the announcement by the Minister of Higher Education concerning the matter of increment in University tuition fees for 2017. We note the argument by the Minister that the matter of University fees is the domain of University Councils, as asserted by law under the principle of Institutional Autonomy. We further noted that the Minister has committed to subsidize the increment of fees to all students who belong to the categories of "the poor" and the "missing middle."

The ANC Youth League firstly rejects the entire argument that a fee increment to the margin of 8% must be contemplated. As we said in our Open Letter to the Minister last week we strongly condemn deployees of the ANC from acting contrary to the decision of the NEC of the ANC this is not acceptable. We therefore re-retaliate our position on moratorium on all University fees pending the outcomes of the Presidential Commission on Free Education. This moratorium is also in line with the decision of the NEC of the ANC. We have consistently warned against chopping and changing of NEC decisions by deployees. We acknowledge that this was an attempt towards the right direction but it remains not enough. This moratorium must force the Presidential Commission to move with speed and draw already existing conclusions on the matter as detailed in the Balintulo Commission Report on NSFAS Review and the Swartz Commission Report on Fee-Free University Education.

Secondly, we reject the exaltation of the principle of Institutional Autonomy as an explanation of the failure by the Ministry to prevent fee increments. Whereas the principle stands, the Ministry had an opportunity to lead a process of reviewal of current legislation in order to avoid this trap, especially following the waves of protests on the same matter over many years. We have been calling for the Ministry to review Higher Education legislation concerning governance statutes so that the state can be allowed to investigate University Financial Reserves in order to determine the extent to which they`re hiding money as part of their commercialization of these institutions and their knowledge products.

Whilst we welcome the concession that the working class and some middle class income brackets cannot afford University fees and related increments, we believe that the intervention is missing the point. In the long-term the sociology of the `missing middle` is a `moving target` that depends on the rate of general price inflation against the rate of increase in household income. Because increases in the rate of inflation tend to outpace increases in average household income, in a short-time the `missing middle` bracket will change.. A Corporate Education Tax and a Wealth Tax on higher income brackets will lead to a model in which the rich naturally fund the entire system. This will enable us to have sustainable free education, to be funded by wealthy sections of society, as opposed to this futile attempt at stratifying students in an unsustainable manner.

We call for visible action on the part of the Ministry of Higher Education towards the implementation of Free Education as resolved upon by successive conferences of the ANC. We continue to reject all delay tactics that reproduce the crisis of affordability and sustainable financial access. We strongly condemn all those who are engaged in criminal activities of destroying properly no member of the progressive forces should be found destroying property. Those who are destroying property should face the wrath of the law.

Issued by
ANC Youth League

For more information, Contact;
Mlondi Mkhize
ANCYL National Spokesperson