South Africa’s political leadership are not exactly from the De Bono school of creativity. Neither do they possess a realistic grasp on economic realities. So it’s entirely expected for champagne communists like Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande to see higher taxes as the solution for every problem. To him the Laffer Curve is when he bends over in private after seeing the latest Zapiro cartoon.
Thankfully, the public sector can draw on sharper minds like that of Rhodes Tax Professor Matthew Lester, who spent half an hour on the line yesterday working through solutions to the #feesmustfall demands. Lester’s digging uncovered the fact that universities contribute a staggering R750m to the State’s useless SETA system. Why, only some bourgeoisie bureaucrat knows. Because municipalities and other State bodies don’t contribute. So, says Lester, eliminate that anomaly and 25 000 students could get a R30 000 fee reduction in 2016.
An even bigger contribution, he added, would be from tapping into R90bn in excess payments into the Unemployment Insurance Fund – a surplus that’s growing at R10bn annually. That money comes from the private sector. So re-allocating it towards university fees seems far more sensible than simply adding to an already excessive tax burden. Let’s hope someone is listening.