National Treasury, under the leadership of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, tried to stop president Jacob Zuma’s R40 billion free education plan earlier this year, the Sunday Times reports.
Zuma has been trying to push the free education plan – which will reportedly redirects R40 billion in funding from other departments – since the beginning of the year, and was going to include an announcement in his February state of the nation speech.
However, intervention from Gordhan and National Treasury scuppered the plans, and removed mention of free tertiary education from the speech.
Despite warnings from the finance department and an independent report into the feasibility of free education, it emerged this week that president Zuma is determined to push ahead with the plan, with an announcement imminent.
The City Press reported that Zuma will push for the plan, even if it’s only for one year, and even if every department and every project budget needs to be cut.
Reports from the Mail & Guardian suggest that tax hikes, or cutting spending on social grants and the rolling out of RDP houses could be used to finance the plan.