Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor. (File: Nasief Manie)
Cape Town – Government should find a way to help fund students who can’t afford fees, Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor said on Wednesday.
“I believe certainly for those whose families do not have the financial means to pay for their cost in higher education, government must find a way to support them increasingly,” Pandor said.
Pandor was speaking outside Parliament following Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan’s mid-term budget speech.
READ: Budget in a nutshell: Gordhan consolidates in difficult period
“But for those of us who are able to pay, we must make our contribution,” she said.
Earlier, Gordhan accepted a memorandum from Fees Must Fall students who gathered in their thousands outside Parliament on Wednesday.
A student leader fellow picketers would identify only as Mbali read out demands for fee-free decolonised education, and the dropping of charges against students arrested countrywide since the September 19 uprising.
Gordhan was told to wait while a student leader finished an introduction.
When he said he had things to do, they accused him of being impatient.
Later in the day, stun grenades were fired by police to disperse student protesters outside Parliament, while Gordhan delivered his mini budget.
This after a makeshift coffin was set alight and thrown over the heads of police officers. A stampede ensued, and stones were flung.
A water canon was used at the Plein Street entrance to Parliament.
“We are committed to doing as much as we can as government to meet the needs of these young people and to ensure we educate as many young people as possible.
“We are committed to supporting the funding costs of the poorest and talented in our country,” Pandor said.
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