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National Assembly passes Higher Education Amendment Bill

The bill will allow Minister Blade Nzimande set transformation targets at universities & other institutions.

Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - The National Assembly has passed the Higher Education Amendment Bill, which, among other things, will allow the Minister to set transformation targets at universities and other institutions, and ensure that they are met.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) did not support the bill.

But when it came to a vote in the National Assembly yesterday, there were 199 in favour and only five votes against, with no abstentions.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande wasn't present for yesterday's debate.

His deputy Mduduzi Manana says the bill aims to strengthen accountability and allow for early warning of faltering governance and management.

"These amendments do not tamper with the institutional autonomy and therefore the integrity of our higher education institutions and the system as a whole will remain intact."

The DA's Belinda Bozzoli disagreed, "The latest set of amendments continues along this path of creeping state control and expanded ministerial prerogative. It moves universities closer to becoming glorified high schools and high-level technical colleges."

The bill will now be sent to the National Council of Provinces.