DA leader Mmusi Maimane has slammed recents racist slurs and says that racism is a problem in South Africa.

Johannesburg - DA leader Mmusi Maimane said President Jacob Zuma’s announcement there would be no increase in fees next year was not a solution to the funding crisis that lay at the heart of the problem.

“The 0 percent increase will provide short-term relief, but the systemic funding shortages and subsidy cuts from government were not addressed in today’s meeting,” he said.

“In fact when DA Youth Interim Leader, Yusuf Cassim, raised this serious concern in the meeting today, President Zuma refused to acknowledge the seriousness of his submission.”

Despite the agreement of no fee increases, the government did not agree to bail-out any distressed and indebted students, Maimane said.

“This is a failure by President Zuma to take the bold steps necessary today to solve this crisis, rather than to defer it,” he added.

Meanwhile, he said institutional independence of universities should not be compromised in the process.

Further, the DA would continue its calls for the budget to be amended, in order for a reallocation of available funds to higher education in the short term.

“The reality is that there is money in the current that can be immediately reprioritised in order to ensure that this commitment is not an empty promise,” Maimane said.

These include:

* R2 billion from the sale of government’s stake in Vodacom to higher education, currently allocated to the BRICS bank

* R720 million allocated to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to offset the impact of the depreciation of the rand on foreign missions

* An additional R69.7 million allocated to VIP Protection Services in the MTBPS

* R67 million allocated immediately for the preparatory work on the planned nuclear build, which the DA maintains should be abandoned.

* R1 billion from the skills levy, which according to the National Treasury the higher education and training system has significant resources that can be reprioritised.

“The outrage and mass mobilisation of students this past week has shown the magnitude of the student funding crisis in South Africa. This crisis has not been solved today - it has just been deferred for another year,” Maimane said.

Labour Bureau

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