3 important things that South Africa can do with R4bn
Ahmed Areff and Paul Herman, News24
Johannesburg - As the country braces for the possibility of R4bn being spent on a new plane for President Jacob Zuma, a number of problems the country is facing still require a little cash injection.
Here follows three examples of where R4bn could be better used:
1) Manage the shortfall of the 0% increase in university fees - with at least R2bn in change
As most of the country's tertiary institutions came to a standstill last month when students began protesting against fee increases, Zuma eventually announced that there would be no increases in 2016.
The estimated shortfall following the lack of increases is about R2.33bn. Government was initially unsure where that money would come from, however it later said it would pay R1.935bn, while universities would make up the remaining R395.7m.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande told the National Assembly last month that free education was possible. However, the private sector needed to get involved as well.
"Government must have the political will to tax the rich and wealthy to fund higher education," he said.
2) Improve roads and ensure less potholes
As the country's infrastructure ages, many a motorist has had to spend their time on the side of a road changing a tyre after they hit a pothole.
While the country faces a reported R149bn bill to fix municipal roads, at least the R4bn can help fix the damage on major routes.
3) R4bn could also help pay-off part of Sanral's debt for e-tolling in Gauteng
Talking about roads, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told the National Assembly in June that the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) still owes about R20bn on its various bonds.
"Sanral owes something like R20bn. The money was raised through a variety of bonds that have certain time frames," he said during a question and answer session in the National Assembly.
Ramaphosa also addressed the "new dispensation" of e-tolls in Gauteng, saying government sometimes had to take unpopular decisions.
Sanral's debt also increases by several billion each year as some motorists do not comply with the "unpopular" system.