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Billions of rands earmarked by the National Skills Fund (NSF) for the development of badly needed artisans have been blown by the government on university students instead, says NSF CEO Mvuyisi Macikama. "Our money has been spent for something other than the key areas we're supposed to be focusing on," he says. SA is so short of artisans it is having to import them. Universities, on the other hand, are churning out so many students with "soft" degrees that the market cannot absorb them. Macikama said in the NSF's 2017-2018 annual report tabled in parliament this week that the department of higher education & training had taken R6.56bn from the NSF's accumulated surplus to pay for the government's no-fee increase promise to university students. In 2016, NSF coffers were raided to the tune of R1.27bn, and this shot up to a whopping R5.28bn last year. Macikama says by 2019-2020 there will be no surplus left. The NSF intended spending R1.5bn of this money on "reactivating" the capacity ...

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