Nzimande: ANC a victim of its own successes
Blade Nzimande says student numbers have risen since the advent of democracy.
CAPE TOWN - Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has opened a debate on university funding in the National Assembly this afternoon by saying the African National Congress (ANC) is a victim of its own successes.
Nzimande says since 1994 more poor students are going to universities.
Three opposition political parties called for an urgent debate on the crisis at tertiary institutions in the wake of widespread student protests over rising fees.
The minister says student numbers have risen since the advent of democracy.
"Between 1994 and 2014 we doubled the number of students in higher education. This huge increase saw larger numbers of poor students entering the university system."
But he says the increase in funding has not matched the significant rise in student numbers.
"This is what has increased... the reliance of our universities on student fees. But in this context we have to closely examine whether universities themselves are spending their monies, including those with reserves prudently."
Demonstrations have continued on some campuses, despite President Jacob Zuma announcing a freeze on university fees for 2016.
NZIMANDE DENIES WITHHOLDING FREE EDUCATION REPORT
The minister has told Members of Parliament (MPs) he did not withhold a report that free education was viable, in spite of media reports to the contrary.
Nzimande says he convened a ministerial working group to look at how to implement the ANC's resolution of free education for the poor.
"This is the famous report that has been mentioned in the past week as having being supressed by me and my department."
LISTEN: The #FeesMustFall conversation carries on.
He says the report has been circulated to stakeholders.
Opposition MPs have taken aim at Nzimande, with many blaming him for the current crisis.
The IFP has asked him to resign, while the Democratic Alliance proclaimed "Blade Must Fall", a play on the student-led #FeesMustFall movement.