Mpofu-Walsh: Heher Commission model on fees is dangerous and ill-conceived

In January 2016, President Jacob Zuma then established the Fees Commission to explore the feasibility of free higher education.

On Monday, the President released the long-awaited Heher Commission report on higher education and training fees, which recommends that application and registration fees be scrapped across the board.

The Heher Commission also found that free higher education for all is not viable.

CapeTalk and 702's Eusebius McKaiser hosted a panel of guests which included; Busisiwe Radebe, Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh and Prof Adam Habib giving their thoughts on the proposed fees model of the report.

They had a very difficult thing to do. I think we focus too much on higher education because if we look at those poor children that we want to actually give higher education to - are they even going to make it to university?

Busisiwe Radebe, economist

In his book 'Democracy and Delusion', Mpofu-Walsh extensively argues the feasibility of free and/or affordable fees in the country.

He believes the proposed model of higher education and training fees is dangerous, ill-conceived and politically naive.

The people who are behind this model know very well that it is going to explode in our faces two decades down the line. And they are imposing a cynical, political ploy to buy themselves time without solving the chronic problems in our education system.

Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, artist, activist and author

Mpofu-Walsh is opposed to handing over the entire system to the banks, adding that the bank system which is unaccountable and untransformed cannot be held responsible on to fund and indebted students long into their adult lives.

Habib's opening statement is that he wishes everybody would 'start operating in the real world and not a world they wish existed'.

If you asked me what the best solution is, I'd say tax the rich and invest in higher education. I know though that politically, it is not feasible, nor is it economically feasible.

Prof Adam Habib is the vice–chancellor at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).

Habib explains that he would have preferred a graduate tax model, which was tabled by a lecturer and accounting students.

This model looks at those who qualified at a university with a degree, should pay for the next generation coming in through a tax adds Habib.

For more on the fees debate click on the audio clip below:


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