South Africa: ANC Passes the Buck to Government On Free Higher Education and Land Expropriation

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ANC flag (file photo).

The ANC has left it to government to work out the methods and procedures of implementing fee-free higher education and land expropriation without compensation, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said on Monday.

The party's national executive committee (NEC) lekgotla, which met at the weekend has, however, recommended a moratorium on the sale of state land.

It also believed the state should introduce "conditions" to the tertiary funding model.

"Government is required to develop and put in place clear progression rules and conditionalities relating to the provision of fee-free education," Magashule said.

President Jacob Zuma has faced criticism for announcing free tertiary education for students from households with an income of less than R350 000 without providing details on how it will be funded or work. The plan states that starting with this year's first-year students, fee-free higher education would be gradually phased in.

His announcement caught ANC senior leaders by surprise as it contradicted the Heher Commission that investigated the feasibility of free higher education and found that government could not afford it and recommended commercial banks issue government-guaranteed loans instead.

Moratorium 'to prevent critical land being sold off'

The move has put pressure on Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba to find the money despite a budget shortfall of R50bn.

"National Treasury is part of government, and government is in touch with this matter of free education, so it will happen. We are leaving modalities to government," Magashule said.

On land expropriation without compensation, Magashule said the ANC wanted government to "urgently initiate a process to finalise the modalities".

He reiterated the stance of the party's recent elective conference that expropriation must be implemented while ensuring food security, greater agricultural output and complement efforts to attract investment and economic growth.

"The lekgotla recommended placing a moratorium on the sale of state land to prevent critical land being sold off, to allow government to redistribute vacant, unused and under-utilised state land," he said.

Source: News24

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