The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) said the Commission of Inquiry – into the Feasibility of making High Education and Training Fee-free in South Africa – had made it quite clear that the country could not afford to offer students free education.
Chairman of the FF Plus, Anton Alberts, said it would be prudent for the Presidency to accept the outcome of the commission’s report, adding that any attempt to do otherwise would cripple Treasury. Free tertiary education is considered a populist policy and is certainly one that will probably secure the legacy of President Zuma for generations to come.
There is still every sign that President Zuma will go beyond the recommendations of the commission and try to fund the tertiary education of poor students. The FF Plus is gravely concerned.
“South Africa cannot afford to offer students free tertiary education; a fact that has now been confirmed by the Heher Commission’s report,” said Alberts.
“The FF Plus hopes that this message will find acceptance with President Jacob Zuma, who is apparently still planning to implement his plans for free higher education,” added Alberts.
The FF Plus chairman said free tertiary education simply wasn’t feasible, adding that the state of the South African economy had actually deteriorated significantly since the report was first drafted. He said this needed to be taken into consideration.
“South Africa’s dire financial position, which is a direct result of the ANC’s mismanagement and its leaders’ plundering of the state purse, has now shut the window of opportunity for students to get free education once and for all,” added Alberts.
“In the present circumstances, attention should rather be focused on managing the money, already being spent on the functioning of universities, much better. First of all, the selection process that determines which school learners get admission to university needs to be stricter and then the academic standard of schools also needs to be raised so that students have a better chance of making a success of their studies.”