Despite findings by Heher Commission suggesting that South Africa cannot afford to fund free education, President Jacob Zuma is set to make an announcement to the contrary.
News reports have been circulating that the President plans to make the announcement once a document outlining the controversial funding plan is ready. The document, which is being put together by Zuma’s future son-in-law‚ Morris Masutha‚ would also defy official ANC policy. It also undermines Finance Minister Gigaba’s statements when he presented the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement last month.
Reports from government insider say that the funding plan could see the cutting back of departmental budgets across government to make R40-billion available for the 2018 academic year.
The Mail and Guardian reported that free education would cost the country an estimated R30 billion. Meanwhile Universities South Africa (USAf) has said that the country’s institutions are in need of an 8% increase in income exacerbating the need to address plans for the 2018 academic year.
It is reported that government plans to go to extremes to fund free education including cutting departmental budgets, increasing taxes as well as tapping into social grants and holding off on the roll out of RDP houses for 17-million South Africans.
The rand has also dropped amidst reports of this controversial move. On Thursday, 9 November, At 1419 GMT, the rand was down 0.78% against the dollar at 14.2650. At 6:45 GMT on 10 November, the rand was 0.1% weaker at 14.26/dollar.