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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Nzimande Slammed For Saying Zuma’s Announcement Of Free Higher Education Caused Problems For NSFAS

THE remarks made by Higher Education Minister Dr Blade Nzimande that “free education is a Zuma thing” were roundly rejected with contempt by the radical economic transformation forces, ANC leader Carl Niehaus said on Thursday.

Niehaus was speaking at a media briefing of the Radical Economic Transformation (RET) national operations committee following its strategic meeting on student funding and protests at Wits University and other campuses throughout the country.

This comes after Nzimande accused Zuma of undermining the findings of the Heher Commission which found that SA cannot afford free tertiary education.

Nzimande was responding to questions from members of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) regarding the poor performance of NSFAS which received an audit disclaimer from the Auditor-General.

“That announcement to say we are moving to a new scheme 14 days before it had to be implemented messed NSFAS big time, exposed the extent to which NSFAS didn’t have a system,” Nzimande told Parliament.  

“It increased the number of NSFAS beneficiaries and what was worse with that decision, it ignored the work that was done by the Heher Commission and the transitional measures. That’s why we have agreed with the Treasury now that it will go back to the Heher Commission.”

Zuma made the surprise announcement in December 2017 on the eve of the watershed 54th African National Congress elective conference.

The Heher commission was established in January 2016 and released its findings in November 2017. 

Nzimande said Zuma’s actions had undermined the recommendations of a commission appointed to look into funding for higher education which had found that the country had no capacity to fund free tertiary education.

Meanwhile, Niehaus said the meeting received a briefing from a delegation of the students involved in the #FeesMustFallCampaign organizers about their demands and the repressive abusive action by the SAPS.”

“This is now enough; we call on Police Minister to accept responsibility for the continuing police brutality. We demand that Minister Cele should resign forthwith,” said Niehaus.

“The RET National Operations Committee noted the NWC of the ANC has intervened with government to find the resources to meet the demands of the students.”

  • Inside Politics
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