The President of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA), Dr Anthea Cereseto, welcomed the announcement by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, that university fee increases would be capped at eight percent.
“NAPTOSA applauds the fact that the needs of the poor and the “missing middle” which comprises dependents of teachers and other civil servants are being considered”, said Dr Cereseto. As a union in the Public Sector, NAPTOSA is aware of the financial difficulties facing the majority of civil servants.
“NAPTOSA condemns violent protest and damage to property and calls on students to act responsibly”, said Dr Cereseto. “There is absolutely no justification for vandalism of the very institution one belongs to”, she added. NAPTOSA is encouraged that the Minister has given universities leeway to decide the rate of increase for 2017 and appeals to student representatives to engage with their Councils amicably. Dr Cereseto further encouraged the Minster to urgently address Government’s basic funding levels of universities.  
Whilst the ideal is for “free education” the reality is that the Country as a whole is under severe financial strain and cannot afford it at present. “NAPTOSA calls on students’ organisations, parents and government to tread cautiously and responsibly when dealing with this issue”, said Dr Cereseto. “Irresponsible student protests would further de-stabilise the economy”, she said. It is hoped that the Presidential Commission investigating the feasibility of free education continues with its work in developing workable proposals for a long-term funding model.
NAPTOSA calls on government to look at cost-cutting measures that can further assist in empowering future generations so that they can play a meaningful role in uplifting all our communities and building the economy and the country.
Dr Cereseto stated that NAPTOSA acknowledged the difficulties many parents have in ensuring their children acquire higher education qualifications and appeals to Higher Education Institutions to adhere to the requests made by Minister Nzimande.  
End of statement
20 September 2016