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Top South African university is facing a financial crisis: DA

Top South African university is facing a financial crisis: DA

One of South Africa’s most respected tertiary institutions, Rhodes university, is close to a financial crisis, according to the Democratic Alliance.

According to the political party, it has emerged that Rhodes University “now has less than two months of funds to cover its financial commitments such as salaries, electricity, water and food for the dining halls”

The DA cited a circular sent to enrolled students last week.

Rhodes, which is situated in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape province, claimed it had “never before been in such a difficult financial position at this time of the year”.

Last week, the university took the decision to withhold the results of students who had not paid at least 50% of their fees.

“It is clear that the financial difficulties in the higher education sector have affected even formerly wealthy universities. Both WITS and UCT have already announced austerity measures, including the cutting of staff. And unsurprisingly, historically disadvantaged universities are even worse off,” said Prof Belinda Bozzoli, DA Shadow Minister of Higher Education and Training.

Read: How South Africa’s universities spend their money

In October 2015, president Jacob Zuma announced a zero percent fees increase for 2016, translating into a multi-billion rand shortfall for universities across the country.

Research conducted by the DA showed that government subsidies for SA institutions have dropped to 40%, from 50% in 1994.

“The government appears to be blind to the fact that South Africa’s universities are in serious financial trouble across the board. This comes after years of falling real subsidies from government which have forced universities to rely on increasing student fees.

“The moratorium on fee increases has put universities under even greater pressure, and the financial support for student debt in this year’s budget has failed to remedy the situation,” Bozzoli said.

The DA last week made a series of proposals to government in its submission to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into fee-free higher education.

Among these proposals were to:

  • Increase state subsidies of Universities to appropriate levels;
  • Expand NSFAS to cover the missing middle;
  • Stabilise student numbers until funding has stabilised; and
  • Continue to collect fees from those who can afford them.

The DA noted previously that students owe South African universities as much as R4 billion in unpaid fees and residence expenses.

Rhodes did not respond to BusinessTech by the time of publishing.

More on universities

Wits University ranked top in South Africa in 2016

Nzimande breaks down the cost of ‘free’ university for 2016

This is how much money South Africa’s top universities make

Here are South Africa’s 26 universities


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  • Willow

    Destruction, the true meaning of “transformation”.

  • CharlieTango

    Viva 22years of democracy and a system that does not support poor students but instead wastes money on fire pools and chicken runs.

  • You get what you pay for.

  • Mossel

    But fees must fall!

  • James Dean

    Rhodes will be disappointed.

  • Cheesy 3.0

    #RhodesMustFall … well it looks like the wish might be granted. Happy now?

  • Arma Geddon

    It’s not a problem. Burn it down. Problem solved SA style.

    • Batman

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. Some of us can’t wait for sa to be like zim. Dumb, dumber and dumbest all living in SA…..

  • Anonnic

    SA Uni degrees is about as good as male tits…

  • Sydney Daniel

    The DA noted previously that students owe South African universities as much as R4 billion in unpaid fees and residence expenses. No problem. Just cancel the ‘R4bn zuma gravy plane’ and all unpaid fees and residence expenses will be taken care of….

    • Good thinking!

    • Hans von Pistov

      Do you think that Zuma and ANC care about the Universities, students and population in general?

      Their motto: “F@@k the poor”.

      • Cliff Smith

        More like a Zuma plot to ensure as few “kleva blacks” as possible coming up in the world as they will start to see through him.

  • Joe Soap

    There seems to be enough funds for homesteads, executive jets, submarines, fighter jets & other military watercraft.

    • Hans von Pistov

      And for overseas shopping junkets by ANC potentates and Government officials. Not to mention all the billions in R200 notes taken to Dubai Zuma and Van Rooyen for Guptas.

  • YNWA

    UCT is busy retrenching permanent staff as they took on about 1000 Outsourced staff, circus

  • All due to Govt stupidity and interference, not to mention the entitlement attitude amongst ignorant students, stemming from ANC’s Political promises!!

  • bengine

    R4Bn shortfall
    R4Bn plane

    Let me think now – damn I know there is a solution in here somewhere …

    • AnRkey

      the best comment yet 😀

  • Black_Hat

    They wanted free education…

  • v_3

    “Whatever the ZANC runs it ruins”

  • Hans von Pistov

    Rhodes University (professors and the whole student body), throughout its existence were staunch supporter of ANC and everything leftist liberal. What an irony that the very same people will preside over Rhodes collapse!

    One is almost tempted to say “it serves you right”. Or Karma is a b*tch!

    • Kgomo Ntsho

      Pay back the money

  • manbott

    Well looks like all the student protestor are getting what they wanted. A destroyed university sector so that they don’t have to explain to anyone why they where too stupid to pass

  • Jacobus Pienaars

    What’s their problem? Don’t they have paintings to burn?

  • John Hersey

    The less government we have involved, the better.
    I believe in a monopoly free, free market;
    not this infantilised socialist state.
    Students should pay 100% of the fees to go to university.
    I don’t see why taxpayers, working class people, should pay with their personal labour or entrepreneurial profit, to create an enriched superior moralising lazy ruling class that exploits them.
    I shouldn’t be paying tax on labour or profit anyway, it’s an infringement of my absolute and inalienable sovereign right to myself and by extension my labour.
    The reason we have tax in the first place was Socialism, who dumbly offered labour to Capitalists, as exploitable predictable wage slaves. There was no tax on labour before 1913 (USA) & 1914 (SA)
    What should be “taxed” (rented against free market demand), is the monopoly of nature, that is the collective property of mankind i.e. Land and natural resources (Georgism).
    It’s not governments job to create educated employees for private enterprise, or worse, for other countries to poach, and whose education is for their personal advancement and enrichment.
    Why for example, are our state institutions;
    a: privatised for personal enrichment of ANC elite?, and
    b: Not educating apprentices, as they used to under apartheid?

    University education should be obtained on loans, and all loans should be based on a credit rating based on performance and progress, just like loans to foreign countries are based on a rating system that determines the interest rate for their repayment.
    If you’re smart, it will be cheap, and of you’re less gifted, you need to make an economic decision as to whether your skills are perhaps better suited elsewhere in the economy.

    • Kgomo Ntsho

      Boo. White people must pay back all the money they received under the apartheid regime. Then we will pay 100%. How about that?

  • Hans von Pistov

    Rhodes University was ANC’s lickspittle for a better part of 22 years. And now, not surprisingly, they have a bitter taste in the mouth.

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