PRESS RELEASE: SAPTU concerned about financial woes at universities

SAPTU is very concerned about the financial state of universities and the resulting impact it will have on students and staff.

The minister for Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Blade Nzimande and his senior officials were informed that unexpected expenses linked to the outbreak of COVID-19 had put the country’s academic institutions in dire financial constraints. During a virtual meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, they also heard that universities are experiencing a decrease in available funds for research.

“Sustainable investment in tertiary education is of the utmost importance for the future of the country,” says adv Ben van der Walt, the General Secretary of SAPTU. “Universities must research to stay at the forefront of development, innovation and technology.

“We recently learned that South Africa has thirteen universities in the 2021 Best Global Universities Rankings, but we are not sure if we can retain the high levels of academic expertise faced with the current state of affairs. This is problematic for the students whose future skills are necessary for the economic recovery of the country.”

SAPTU is also concerned that the government will decrease subsidies for universities. The state subsidies are essential for universities to continue with its day to day running. If middle-class students, who don’t qualify for NSFAS bursaries, cannot afford to pay for classes in the next academic year, the financial situation becomes even more dire.

SAPTU appreciates that universities are extending the academic year to ensure students complete the current year, but would like to see a plan from the department on how it will save tertiary institutions and the research it must undertake.

Issued by:                  SAPTU
Date:                           26 October 2020

Enquiries:                  Adv Ben van der Walt, General Secretary SAPTU                                           Email: