English: This article briefly considers theoretical assumptions about markets and then explores how internationalisation, globalisation and neo-liberalism relate to markets in higher education. To gain a better understanding of how markets manifest themselves in South Africa, it then explores how the three Western Cape universities (Cape Town, Stellenbosch, and the Western Cape) position themselves in relation to the market. What are the possible responses to markets in higher education? Three possibilities are explored. First, an institution of higher education may promote what Chomsky referred to as a “free marketplace of ideas”. Secondly (but related to the first possibility), it may emphasise higher education as a democratic public sphere. Thirdly, it may refocus on equity within the South African higher education system.