By Gaby Ndongo (2 mins read)
A total of R430 million has been approved for student accommodation for the 2018/19 financial year, said the finance minister today when delivering the medium-term budget.
Universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges across the country have witnessed protests halting academic activities and caused by the demand for adequate, quality and affordable housing, among other reasons.
The approved amount for student housing, “R26 billion in additional financial support to Eskom”, and “R11 billion to several smaller state-owned companies in financial distress” are the “main changes to the in-year expenditure projections”, said Tito Mboweni in the National Assembly, Cape Town.
According to the minister of higher education, science and technology’s budget vote address in July, the Student Housing Infrastructure Programme (SHIP) was tasked with ensuring that 300 000 beds are built over a 10-years period.
SHIP is a programme based on the partnership between the Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology, the Infrastructure Investment Programme of South Africa, the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) and National Treasury.
“The first three (3) universities under this programme are at various stages in the development of 5 836 beds with a further six (6) projects of 13 977 beds undergoing assessment through the Budget Facility for Infrastructure (BFI) for possible launching in the coming year,” read the speech.
In early October, the Department signed a memorandum of agreement with DBSA to facilitate and fund SHIP.
Over 26 public universities and 50 public TVET colleges will benefit from the Programme and, according to the statement about the agreement, “the DBSA will host the SHIP Management Office for the first five years”.
The availing of the funds for student housing comes at a time when the national debt is ballooning. “This year, the national debt exceeded R3-trillion. It is expected to rise to R4.5-trillion in the next three years,” according to Mboweni. TOJ
Reporting by Gaby Ndongo; Editing by Hendrica Nkoana. Feature image: South Africa’s Banknotes. Image courtesy to Pexels.