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No fees announcement was due in SONA2017

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Zuma's crazy R40-billion free education plan

South Africa should raise spending on higher education and training to at least 1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) from around 0.75 percent at present, a presidential commission report released on Monday found.

The financing of every university student is achieved through a bank loan at a rate favourable to the student. Should the student fail to reach the required income threshold‚ government bares the secondary liability.

The commission also recommended that all students at these colleges should receive fully subsidised free education in the form of grants that cover their cost of study and that no student should be partially funded.

Funding for postgraduate students should be funded through the National Research fund, based on NRF criteria and merit.

There is insufficient financial capacity in the state to provide totally free higher education and training to all who are unable to finance their own education, let alone to all students, whether in need or not, according to the report.

Students are threatening to launch fresh protests nationwide to press their demand for free higher education.

The Presidency has denied this.

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However, experts fear that similar protests could now resurface in response to the president's statement that he did not plan to announce free education. If Zuma pushes his policy, it would undermine the Treasury's role in keeping a lid on government spending, wasteful expenditure and finding sustainable ways to grow the economy.

The Fees Commission Report outlined what the model would include.

Fin24 reported it had obtained independent confirmation from two sources close to Treasury that Sachs had resigned as the issue of free higher education was steamrolled by Zuma.

The statement added that the President never planned to make such an announcement since he had already appointed a commission of inquiry into higher education funding.

"I will make a pronouncement on the report once the ministers have concluded their work".

At the time, Zuma said he was studying and working on the report's contents and consulting the relevant ministers, excluding Nzimande, who was sacked by Zuma in his cabinet reshuffle in October.

"I have made a decision to release the report prior to the conclusion of our work in processing it so that the public can have an opportunity to study the report while we continue with the processing thereof", Zuma said.

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