President Jacob Zuma’s office has rubbished as “a fabrication” a Sunday Times article revealing that his plans to announce free education in his State of the Nation Address in February this year were stopped by the Treasury.
His spokesperson‚ Bongani Ngqulunga said in a statement: “The President never planned to make such an announcement. The thrust of SONA2017 was radical economic transformation flowing from the governing party the ANC’s January 8 statement and the Cabinet and governing party makgotla.”
He said Zuma had appointed a commission of inquiry into higher education funding headed by Judge John Heher and waited for the Commission to conclude its business‚ saying at no stage did Zuma 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 thereof. Any action going forward will result from careful consideration by relevant structures in government‚” Ngqulunga said on Sunday.
The Sunday Times reported on Sunday that Zuma had wanted to announce free education as early as February this year but was blocked by National Treasury during Pravin Gordhan’s tenure as finance minister.
The newspaper revealed that Treasury officials intervened by removing the free education announcement in Zuma’s state of the nation address in February.
Zuma is said to be pushing ahead with the plan to announce fully subsidised higher education for students coming from families earning a combined annual income of not more that R350‚000.
By: Sipho Mabena – TimesLIVE
Source: TMG Digital.