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Suggestions pour in to Gordhan on how to fund free tertiary education

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Increasing VAT to 20% on all items except basic foods‚ a 10% reduction in government employees’ salaries and diverting “fruitless and wasteful expenditure” by government departments to the Department of Higher Education could assist in funding free education for tertiary students.

These are some of the suggestions made by Facebook users today following an invitation by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Friday ahead of the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) which will be presented on October 26.

In his invitation for comment‚ Gordhan said the MTBPS would be presented against the backdrop of a sluggish economy‚ the looming threat of a possible negative view by independent rating agencies‚ fees must fall campaign as well as uncertainty in the global economic conditions.

Gordhan said there was a balancing act that must be struck to give attention to various competing priorities.

The minister wanted the public views on: a. Funding of free educations for students in tertiary institutions; b. How South Africa can achieve inclusive economic growth; c. How South Africa can use its resources to ensure efficiencies; and d. How the government‚ civil society‚ unions and business can work together in oneness of purpose to achieve the economic objectives of our country.

A post by Ian Manning said: “One of the ways to finance free education would be to increase VAT to 20% on all items except basic foods (mealie meal‚ uncooked meat and chickens‚ bread) as well as school uniforms and shoes.

“Cars with a resale value of over R150‚000 should be subject to VAT of 25%. This will be more than enough to provide free education at all levels.”

Manning said tertiary education should not be automatic unless a satisfactory secondary education qualification was achieved.

He also suggested that technical education should be available for those students that did not achieve adequate secondary education results.

“There is a shortage of technical skills in the world‚ never mind only in South Africa.”

Betts van Heerden said: “Take 10% of all government employees salary most of them don’t deserve it as they do nothing. Take this guy at SABC‚ what has he done to get such a fat salary. Get rid of the hangers on‚ whittle out the wasted ones in parliament Get our President to come clean and pay back what he owes. Stamp down on the corruption.”

Pauline Halstead said university fees should be subsidised to an extent and that each individual pays according to family income.

“Ranging from zero fees to full fees. Also tax breaks for individuals paying for tertiary education could be looked at. We desperately need more universities.”

Richard Russmann said universities cost money to run and staff must be paid.

“One idea is to give government loans‚ that graduates can repay when able‚ at zero interest. They could also get the loans set aside by working for the public for a few years. A win win. This funding can come from a 1% rise in VAT. To simply make it FREE is stupid since we know it is NOT free and never will be.”

Andre Meier said: “By stopping corruption‚ state capture and tenderpreneurs there will be enough funds available. If the students get what they want what will be next – guaranteed jobs? Students must learn that everything is achieved through hard work and not freebies.”

Barry Eslick came with another suggestion: “Make it mandatory that each graduate takes out a life insurance policy that makes their alma mater the beneficiary. It is long term‚ but it will reduce the burden on the taxpayer.”

Tony De Wijn said university students who demand free education should have free education as long as they keep passing all their exams.

“If they fail then they must leave immediately and pay back the money that the SA taxpayers paid for their tuition. This policy worked well in the old USSR so the students should welcome it with open arms.”

[Source: Times Live]
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