President Jacob Zuma said on Saturday that free higher education will be executed in a “fiscally sustainable manner”.
He was addressing ANC delegates‚ delivering his last political report as party president at the opening session of its national conference in Nasrec.
“This morning we announced a plan for fee-free higher education for students from poor and working-class backgrounds‚ which will be implemented in a fiscally sustainable manner‚ following the release of the Heher Commission of Inquiry into higher education‚” Zuma said.
On Saturday afternoon‚ Treasury issued a statement saying it would consider the plan and review financing options.
“Any amendments to existing spending and tax proposals will be announced at the time of the 2018 budget‚” the statement read.
Zuma’s free education announcement is contrary to the recommendations made by the Heher Commission‚ which prescribed that loans be given to students.
The commission found that there was currently no capacity for the government to provide free tertiary education to all students in the country.
“The provision of free higher education and training for poor and working class students until the attainment of an undergraduate degree is a standing and binding resolution of both the 52nd and 53rd conferences of the African National Congress‚” Zuma told delegates.