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Backlash on ANC graduate tax plan

Feb 08 2013 10:02

Johannesburg - AfriForum Youth on Friday added its voice to a host of others condemning the ANC's proposed graduate tax, saying it will discourage tertiary studies and could lead to even more graduates leaving the country.

"Such a tax will create a climate where people are discouraged to further their studies and lead to even more graduates leaving the country," spokesperson Danie Ungerer said in a statement.

The youth body called for broader public consultation before such a tax was instituted.

On Thursday, the SA Students' Congress (Sasco) slammed the proposed tax as further exploitation of the working class.

Sasco president Ngoako Selamolela said the student body opposed the ANC's proposal because it embraced the notion that higher education was a private gain for students.

"Graduates from working class and poor backgrounds have a historic burden to redress the plight of their families...  this resolution seeks to further exploit the working class such that they don’t break from the poverty cycle."

Graduate tax worked against the logic of the implementation of free quality education, he said.

The Democratic Alliance Youth also on Thursday called a tax on working graduates unfair.

"It would mean an extra payment on top of their income tax, at a time when many are struggling to make ends meet," DA Youth federal leader Makashule Gana said in a statement.

"Under these circumstances, a graduate tax could actively discourage students from entering tertiary level education."

Gana said many students were still battling to pay off student loans.

Student loan debt of around R3bn in 2009 had since risen.

There was currently no guarantee that a graduate would get work, he said.

"Instead of a tax, we need a youth wage subsidy to help young people find work when they finish school.

"We must not crush the spirit of young people with taxes," he said.

"Government is supposed to reward people who make an impact on the economy and who have the ability to generate employment."

The ANC resolved at its elective conference in Mangaung last year to introduce a tax on graduates.

Conference delegates participating in the education and health commission resolved that consideration "must be given to a graduate tax for all graduates from higher education institutions". No other details were given.

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