Blade Nzimande stops infrastructure funds
Cape Town - Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has revealed that his department will not transfer R750m in infrastructure funds for some approved projects at some universities.
This happens as R86m will be rolled over in the new financial year for the intake of new students in the Centres of Specialisation.
Nzimande revealed this when responding to parliamentary questions from DA MP Belinda Bozzoli, who asked about infrastructure and other projects that will be postponed and/or stopped in each university as a result of cuts and reprioritisation of funding.
Bozzoli had also asked about the cuts at TVET colleges and the effect this would have in the new student intake in each Centre of Specialisation this year.
Nzimande said his department has not received any confirmation from universities of infrastructure projects that may be slowed down or postponed as a result of the cuts and reprioritisation of funding.
He said a large amount of the reprioritised funds came from interest accrued on earmarked grants that had not yet been specifically allocated to any projects.
Nzimande also said there were no currently approved projects that have been stopped.
"All infrastructure projects that were approved during previous infrastructure cycles that are not yet finalised will continue to be supported.
"In the 2020/21 financial year, R750m will not be transferred as originally planned to fund some approved projects at specific institutions," he added.
Nzimande said the transfers that would be withheld for the affected projects would be delayed into the 2021/22 financial year.
Responding to the question on TVET colleges, Nzimane said R170m was allocated from the 2019/20 budget to the Centre of Specialisation students for the year 2020.
Of the amount, R84m was for the first cohort of 1210 returning students from 2019 and a further R86m for the second cohort of 840 new enrolments for 2020.
"The Centres of Specialisation were unable to realise the new enrolments for 2020 given the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, largely due to uncertainty in employer commitments and as a result, no new enrolments will take place in 2020," Nzimande said.
"This accounts for R86m of the R170m which colleges will carry forward into the new financial year," he added.
Nzimande also said three colleges have started their second intake in 2020 and would not be allowed to start a third intake in 2021.