Recently, South Africa has been caught in a whirlwind of scandals and protests.. Among these, the one that is currently making headlines is the #feesmustfall campaign by the university students across the country..
I sincerely think that free education for all is possible, but it requires A LOT OF POLITICAL WILL..
KPMG in its research of this #feesmustfall campaign has found that free tertiary education is possible and as per below infographic, 13 countries around the world have already implemented it and it seems to be working for them..
But in South Africa, instead of the political will to achieve this, what we have is alleged gross mismanagement, misappropriation and erosion of funds, due to lack of control on government spending inspite of the many cost cutting measures Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has announced..
This lack of political will alongwith bad governance and lack of forward thinking on the part of the current government wilting under an extremely weak leadership, is the reason that things have reached this level..
There is no way any government in its right mind can say that there is no money for free tertiary education, when one SOE (State Owned Enterprise) is allowed to rake up an alarming loss of ZAR5.6 billion (SAA) for the year 2014/15 (yes, in 1 year) and the COO of another SOE (SABC) is allowed to get a bonus of ZAR.11.4 million (after tax) inspite of being found by the public protector and courts to be unsuitable for his position..
These are just the losses reported by the media and I am sure there are many other government bodies that have many other losses as well which are unreported but for which the public are paying.. All of these losses combined can EASILY FUND FREE TERTIARY EDUCATION..
So one can realize why the students are angry when Government says free education is not possible..
Then there are of course the various scandals, mismanagement, corruption that SA’s president is tagged with and this adds to the already nonchalant picture the government and the ruling party is painting all over town.. Repeated cover ups, lies, using their majority in the parliament to defeat motions etc seems to be the order of the day in South Africa…
But for how long..??
The students, the workers and the unemployed are all watching the public funds (a lot of which is allocated for developmental programs), the tax money or the grant money of their parents being eroded by this uncontrolled greed by a select few which is putting the country at risk economically, morally and for its future..
The leadership of South Africa should realize that this cannot go on uncontrolled and wake up and make an honest and sincere attempt to end this #feesmustfall campaign.. The government has a moral obligation to intervene here and not just leave it to the VCs of the universities to tackle..
As enshrined in the constitution of South Africa, education is a birthright and as the South African government has been set up to govern on the basis of the constitution, they have to make it happen..