SAPTU cautiously welcomes the further investment in higher education announced by Minister Enoch Godongwana during his maiden Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) delivered in Parliament today. But, warns SAPTU (South African Parastatal and Tertiary Institutions Union) the minister and government should consider the allocation against the backdrop of an unemployment rate of more than 43%.
Minister Godongwana said funding for fee-free higher education and training increased from R44,7 billion to R56,8 billion. He also confirmed that the number of people working has declined, and 47% of South Africans now receive social grants.
“We would like to see more of a focus on creating a strong economy and a climate inviting foreign investment in South Africa,” says Adv Ben van der Walt, the General Secretary of SAPTU. “The stronger the economy, the better the rate of employment. We are setting up young people to fail after studying if there are no jobs available.”
SAPTU appreciates the allocation of almost R74 billion towards public employment programmes over the MTEF, but considering the ongoing public sector wage disputes (also affecting SAPTU members, especially those in the health industry), debates the ability of the government to be a responsible employer.
“The burden on workers as taxpayers supplying the revenue to foot the bill of public wages and social grants gets heavier,” says Adv Van der Walt. “But in turn, service delivery and the quality of life decreases. We welcome Minister Godongwana’s effort to curb expenditure and increase revenue. But, the budget, its implementation and the sustainable economic future of the country is a fine balancing act. We hope he gets it right.”
Issued by: SAPTU
Date: 11 November 2021
Enquiries: Adv Ben van der Walt, General Secretary SAPTU Cell.: 083 260 8548