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DA: University fees shortfall can be found in existing budget

The DA made proposals to amend the adjusted budget to fund the shortfall arising to no fee increase in 2016.

FILE: On 23 October 2015 students converged upon the Union Buildings, during nationwide 'Fees Must Fall' protests, where President announced to media that there would be no fee increase in 2016. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) says the estimated R2,7 billion needed for universities can be found by re-prioritising expenditure within government's existing budget.

The party today made proposals to amend the adjusted budget, to fund the shortfall, arising from the announcement that fees won't increase next year.

Government has yet to publicly reveal how the gap will be filled.

But the DA's Belinda Bozzoli says the official opposition has some ideas.

"We have put forward several sources of funding, which we think are present in the existing budget; which are superfluous, frivolous and unnecessary."

She says, for starters, money allocated to foreign missions could be put to better use.

"This funding is for recompensing the Department of International Relations for losses caused by the currency decline."

A week ago, President Jacob Zuma told Bloomberg News that free education was possible but it couldn't happen overnight and required enough funding.

The president downplayed the poor performance of South Africa's economy with this message to foreign investors: "South Africa remains a destination for investment."