Nzimande: Student debt is a global problem

Cape Town - Embattled Higher Education and Training minister Blade Nzimande - who spoke in his capacity as general-secretary of the South African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (Sactwu) - said South African students were not the only ones who sometimes find themselves caught in the so-called “student debt” trap.

Sactwu held its 13th national congress, which concludes on Saturday, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Thursday.

South African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union general-secretary Blade Nzimande. Credit: CAPE ARGUS

Nzimande told hundreds of delegates South Africa faced numerous political and economic challenges which he said were further exacerbated by the high number of citizens dependent on the state.

He largely blamed the 2008 global financial crisis which rendered thousands of people jobless.

Nzimande also touched on student debt which the minister warned could have catastrophic consequences.

“The second potential trigger for another global capitalist meltdown is likely to be student debt, which has become a global problem - and it's even worse in the United States,” Nzimande said.

Nzimande faced heavy backlash after announcing on Monday that while fee increases would be decided by university they'd be capped at 8 percent - but more importantly, the minister stressed that students who come from households with an of R50 000 and less would be exempt from fee hikes.