14 November 2017

South Africa: Reality Check - Heher Commission Report Reminds Us of Harsh Truths On Student Fees

analysis

On Monday, President Jacob Zuma finally released the so-called Fees Report - the Heher Commission's report into funding of higher education. The 752-page report is detailed, thorough and reasonable. It concludes that fee-free education is not possible, as did a report released by the Davis Tax Commission on Monday. Is it conceivable that government could ignore this expert consensus and strong-arm into action a half-baked plan for free education cooked up by a Zuma family friend now revealed to have been a state spy? By REBECCA DAVIS.

Those seeking further context on the resignation of top Treasury official Michael Sachs might want to start by reading the full Heher Commission report on the feasibility of free higher education.

According to the report, it was Sachs who appeared before the commission on behalf of National Treasury to deliver some hard truths about fee-free education. Sachs presented the commission with the evidence of the parlous state of the South African economy and the fact that South Africa is consistently spending more than its income.

The Treasury told the commission that "should the position be taken to fund free education, money would have to be cut from other social priorities".

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