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Students the biggest losers in cabinet reshuffle – academics

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Kayleen Morgan
April07/ 2017

Academics say the effects of a struggling economy will trickle down to students.

STUDENTS and other vulnerable communities will be the most affected by President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle. This is according two senior Wits lecturers from the School of Economics and Business Studies.
This follows an open letter that academics from various South African universities penned on March 31 to the Cabinet, the National Executive Committee of the ANC and Parliament, calling for “an end to this breathtaking act of political opportunism and arrogance – manifest in a clear attempt at gaining hold and control of those parts of government, which if corrupted, will only serve to benefit a small minority of individuals at the expense of the poor and marginalised in our society”.
Professor David Coldwell, a Wits Business School economist and signatory of the open letter, says that the dismissal of the ministers goes against the national interests of South Africa. According to Prof Coldwell, the country needs to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) like never before to expand the manufacturing industry which will assist in establishing a sustainable economy. However, the chances of SA obtaining these investments have been reduced as a result of the dismissal of Pravin Gordhan as minister of finance, who, Coldwell says, is internationally respected in financial circles.
The effects of the diminished levels of FDI and a struggling economy will trickle down to students. Coldwell says, “We are less likely to be able to afford the support of needy students and to obtain the money needed to maintain and modernise our university structure.”
Dr Kenneth Creamer, a lecturer in the School of Economic and Business Sciences, says that every effort should be made by South African citizens “to contest and overturn the missteps of President Zuma”.
This is because the reshuffle could weaken the proper governance of the country’s finances which will affect service delivery and institutions such as public health and education on which South Africa’s most vulnerable are reliant.
“It is a time for South Africans to be sober and serious. It is not
a time to be fooled by lies and rhetoric,” says Creamer.
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Kayleen Morgan