- In a recent speech Zuma announced free education for the poor
- This could be a ploy to garner votes for Dlamini-Zuma
- Economists think the policy is unaffordable
In a recent address president Jacob Zuma announced that there would be free education for poor and working class students. This may have been a well timed move to get more votes for presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The problem according to economists is that there is no money for free education. It will mean that money will be taken away from other policies. This will be a problem for the next president to deal with.
Zuma had been advised by treasury that the funding was not available for his plan and that Zuma should wait till the next budget announcement. It will cost at least R15bn extra in 2018 and even more in the years after. The 2018 budget is already under pressure and slashes in expenditure coupled with tax increases were proposed to cover the shortfall of R40bn.
According to economist Dawie Roodt, as reported by EWN, Zuma’s announcement is a populist one. He thinks Zuma has thrown his successor “under the bus” as the policy will be near impossible to reverse.
Briefly.co.za also learned that some ministers were unaware of Zuma’s plan. They, as well as the public, were surprised by the announcement.
Some responses on twitter were quite skeptical:
The National Treasury is now in the process of reviewing the proposal. They need to find avenues for funding the Presidency’s plan of free education.
The Commission of Inquiry into higher education recommended more funding for higher education. This would be in line with the increased costs of quality education and infrastructure provision. The National Treasury had advised against the announcement.
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