In a statement released by The Presidency on Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma announced the establishment of a Ministerial Task Team to resolve the current impasse at institutions of higher learning. Absent from the task team is Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who is set to answer a summons to appear in court on November 2. It is Gordhan’s ministry that would of course be tasked with finding the funds to better fund higher education.
The ministers that did get the nod are: The Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe as Convenor, Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Michael Masutha, Minister of Police, Nathi Nhleko, Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba.
Notable for their presence are ministers in the security cluster.
“We urge all stakeholders including students, university management, parents and religious leaders to cooperate with the Ministerial Task Team to ensure that the future of our children is not jeopardised,” President Zuma said.
According to the statement, government reiterates its full commitment to promoting access to higher education for the children of the poor and the working class. Although without actual input from the finance ministry on the task team, it remains to be seen how well this commitment will translate.