Gordhan: Fiscus alone can't carry load of free education

Minister Gordhan says that government is working to allocate more funds to the higher education sector.

Fees2017 protesters fling a coffin symbolising Blade Nzimandes coffin into a police barricade outside parliament. Picture: Anthony Molyneaux/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has reassured protesting students that government cares and understands their call for free higher education, but he says that the fiscus alone cannot afford it.

Gordhan delivered his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement in Parliament on Wednesday, while police used rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse protesters outside the National Assembly.

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The minister announced an extra R17,6 billion for higher education and training over the next three years, saying that government is working to allocate more funds to the sector.

"The fiscus alone can't carry the whole load. There are a whole lot of problems that we have from academics, from student bodies and private sector organisations that we want to look at carefully over the next few weeks."

Meanwhile, Gordhan refused to answer questions relating to the fraud charges levelled against him. He says his priority is to ensure the stability of the economy.