News / South Africa

Yadhana Jadoo
1 minute read
13 Nov 2017
6:00 am

Free tertiary education can send SA into economic crisis say analysts

Yadhana Jadoo

We can expect further ratings downgrades if it happens, says expert.

Limpopo MEC for Education Ishmael Kgetjepe addresses Grade 12 pupils at Modubatse High School in Kgapane. Picture: Alex Matlala

Offering free education could only be a short term gain for the ANC ahead of the 2019 National Elections, as the ruling party sees itself under pressure from all sides, students included.

According to political analysts, this may be the plan the ANC would want to push in order to garner votes following its dismal performance in last year’s local government elections – but it would only see South Africa suffer economically.

Yesterday reports indicated President Jacob Zuma intended announcing a R40 billion free education proposal last week, but had been blocked by National Treasury which warned that the plan would shove South Africa into an economic crisis.

The Presidency has since denied this, charging that the story in The Sunday Times was a “fabrication”. “The President never planned to make such an announcement.

The thrust of Sona2017 was radical economic transformation flowing from the ANC’s January 8 statement and the Cabinet and governing party makgotla,” it said.

“The President had appointed a commission of inquiry into higher education funding headed by Judge John Heher. The President waited for the Commission to conclude its business. At no stage did he plan to make any announcements that would undermine the work of the Commission.

“The President has tasked the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Higher Education Funding headed by Minister Jeff Radebe and the Presidential Fiscal Committee to process the Heher Commission report and advise him on how to respond to the content. Any action will result from careful consideration by relevant structures in government.” But analyst Ralph Mathekga.

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