President Jacob Zuma wanted to announce free education as early as February this year, but was stopped on his tracks by National Treasury, when Pravin Gordhan was still finance minister.
The Sunday Times can today reveal that Treasury officials intervened by removing the free education announcement in Zuma’s state of the nation address in February.
However, it emerged this week that Zuma was pushing ahead with the plan to announce fully subsidised higher education for students coming from families earning a combined income of not more than R350,000 a year, despite a warning from the interministerial committee headed by Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe that the plan was a risk to the economy.
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Zuma’s plan is the brainchild of Morris Masutha, the ex-boyfriend of his and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s daughter, Thuthukile.
Insiders say several meetings were held last week with Zuma as he wanted Treasury to find money to fund Masutha’s proposal.
Treasury insiders say Zuma’s plan has angered deputy director-general at the budgeting office Michael Sachs, who has allegedly threatened to resign if the president insists on implementing the plan.
Read more in the Sunday Times.