Gigaba confirms that free university education will go ahead

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has confirmed that government is currently working on a sustainable plan to make free higher education possible.

According to a report by BusinessDay, the confirmation was buried in his reply on Thursday to the debate in the National Assembly on the Adjustments Appropriation Bill and the medium-term budget policy statement.

“The economic slowdown requires a united response to grow our economy inclusively and to create jobs,” said Gigaba.

“And towards that we will have to embark on fiscal consolidation measures to cut expenditure by R25 billion, enhance revenues by R15 billion, implement fee-free higher education in a fiscally sustainable manner and implement … stimulus measures that will reignite the economy.

“Everybody knows that we will announce on budget day the details of these measures”.

In October, the long-awaited Heher commission’s report found that free higher education for all students in South Africa is not financially feasible.

The 748-page report by the commission of inquiry into higher education and training said that alternative funding models need to be adopted which should take into account the state of the country’s economy.

The commission was set up following a #FeesMustFall protest by students some two years ago, and according to the City Press, the report examined some 20 different scenarios of funding.

Read: Is free higher education fair?

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Gigaba confirms that free university education will go ahead