In response to the Treasury’s midterm budget policy speech NTEU General Secretary, Grant Abbott, lambasted the department for being out of touch with the current realities facing South Africans. NTEU notes the R1,13 billion and R1,95 billion to be rediverted from Higher Education and the South African Police Services (SAPS) funding respectively and into the infamous financial blackhole, South African Airlines.
With millions left destitute and desperate there are real concerns around the proposed budget cuts aimed at recovering the economy. Having experienced devastating numbers in job losses, economic and social turmoil, and the loss of South African lives and livelihoods, government spending is at a critical junction and prudent investment is vital.
The nation will not depend on SAA to lift them out of poverty and it will not be SAA that will develop the COVID-, or any other vaccine. It will not be SAA that “brings the world to Africa and takes Africa to the world”. As always the remedy lies in education.
Still reeling from the ripple effects of the #feesmustfall movement there remains little for silver linings for the already underfunded sector. At current most universities are spending as though there is no new normal, furthering the funding crisis in higher education. Reasonable fears exist that the costs will inevitably be passed on to staff leading to further retrenchments.
“Furthermore, cutting essential departments such as Police and Higher Education to fund a non-performing corruption cash cow like SAA to the tune of R10.5 billion is unconscionable and fails on any level of common sense. Our institutions of higher learning are the primary research and development centers for the country. Who in their right mind would cut research capacity during the middle of a global pandemic? Similarly, cutting back on police services at a time when crime, in particular gender-based crimes, are at an all-time high simply demonstrates a total lack of moral conscience at any level.”, said Abbott.
Seeing as a country cutting down on training capacity in the midst of the 4th industrial revolution is likely to scare off investors NTEU fails to see how these budget decisions serve the best interests of the economy, and as such, our members.
NTEU is a politically non-aligned trade union organizing exclusively in the Higher Education sector and is aligned to FEDUSA, the largest politically non-aligned trade union federation in South Africa.
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