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Saturday, January 22, 2022

EFF: Free higher education is a victory for Fees Must Fall Movement

Bonile Khanyi

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has welcomed President Jacob Zuma’s announcement on free higher education, calling it a historic generational victory for the fees must fall movement.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the EFF said “this will aid a lot of families and relieve a lot of financial burden from their shoulders. We also welcome announcements of increase of government subsidy to universities as recommended by the Fees Commission.”

On Saturday morning, President Jacob Zuma announced that government will introduce free higher education and training for all South African students from poor and working classes homes.

“Having amended the definition of poor and working-class students‚ government will now introduce fully subsidised free higher education and training for poor and working-class South African undergraduate students‚ starting in 2018 with students in their first year of study at our public universities‚” read the statement.

He also said that the deserving students will be funded and supported through government grants, not loans.

“All poor and working class South African students enrolled at public TVET colleges will be funded through grants not loans.

For TVET colleges, full cost of study will include tuition fee, prescribed study material, meals, accommodation, and/or transport.”

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance has slammed Zuma’s announcement saying that his “playing politics with the hopes and futures of millions of young people.”

While the DA says it welcomes Zuma’s announcement, the DA’s Shadow Minister of Higher Education and Training Belinda Bozzoli said it must be seen for what it is.

“The statement is a combination of populist politicking, deceptive language, uncosted proposals and one positively dangerous assertion,” said Bozzoli.

“The President waited until the very end of the year so that he could make a splash at the ANC conference, while students, their families and the institutions they wish to attend anxiously awaited news. Such cheap politicking is appalling. Unsurprisingly, his statement is full of promises, but lacking actual implementation details.”

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