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UCT students seek clarity from Zuma on implementation of free education

Earlier this month, President Jacob Zuma announced that the government will subsidize free higher education for poor and working-class students.

FILE: The University of Cape Town. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - University of Cape Town (UCT) students have called on President Jacob Zuma to explain his government’s plan to implement fee-free education.

Earlier this month, Zuma announced that the government will subsidise free higher education for poor and working-class students.

He was responding to the findings of Heher Commission of Inquiry.

Since then, both the UCT and the University of the Western Cape have announced they’ll be increasing their fees by 8% next year.

President Zuma and the Department of Higher Education have yet to reveal how this plan will be implemented, leaving students frustrated.

UCT SRC president Karabo Khakhau says Zuma should explain how state funding will be allocated.

“When President Jacob Zuma then decides to announce that there is going to be free education coming into 2018, it’s something that might be beautiful but it’s very reckless because we cannot continue to have our hopes up.”

She adds if government doesn’t make a statement before the new academic year starts, it might lead to a resurgence of protests on campuses.

Registration is expected to start in the first week of February.

SACP REACTS

At the same time, the South African Communist Party (SACP) says it's concerned that President Zuma has still not provided details on how free higher education will be funded.

The party released its end of the year statement on Wednesday.

Spokesperson Alex Mashile says while they welcome government’s announcement to fund education for poor and working-class students, they want details on how this will be attained.

“We are, however, concerned about the silence of President Zuma on where the money will come from. We hope that this will not be one of the avenues to raise value-added tax and to recklessly make use of workers’ monies.”