South Africa can afford free tertiary education, according to Moeletsi Mbeki, brother of former President Thabo Mbeki.
The comments were made at the backdrop of widespread protests across the country’s public universities.
Moeletsi Mbeki, a political economist and deputy chair of the South African Institute of International Affairs added that, majority of people in South Africa were poor and could not afford to pay the ever rising tuition fees.
He also added that the country was not going to grow without improved investment in the education sector.
“To create a competitive economy, everybody should be educated,” he said.
Mbeki said the government needed to reprioritise education rather than diverting resources into the minute middle class.
“If you don’t invest in quality education you will not get high skilled workforce,” he warned.
Mbeki who warned of a ticking time bomb in South Africa in April said, the recent student demonstrations was one of the many small bombs leading to an ultimate explosion if government's approach didn’t change.
He also warned against entertaining students loans. Most people in South Africa could not afford loans as they were already highly indebted, he surmised.
“There are about 19 million people in the credit system in South Africa with half that number failing to service their debt.”