South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Blade Nzimande has admitted to being part of meetings where a R40 billion proposal for free tertiary education was tabled but says that the plan is unworkable.
Morris Masutha, who is believed to have dated President Jacob Zuma and Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s daughter, presented this bold plan during a Cabinet meeting earlier this year.
The Sunday Times reported that Masutha has been a constant feature at the Treasury and uses the president’s name to issue instructions to senior government officials.
“I did interact with that proposal, yes, when I was still a minister, from this young man.”
Nzimande has not only confirmed to having met Masutha, he also says that the 28-year-old’s proposed plan is not feasible.
“I asked him to go and interact with my officials in the department and found that well it’s good young people have got ideas but it was an unworkable proposal. I don’t know now what’s the latest version of it.”
As speculation continues to mount about possible solutions to the tertiary education crisis, President Zuma continues to sit on the fees commission report, despite announcing on two occasions that he will release the findings soon.
PRESIDENCY DENIES REPORTS OF ANNOUNCEMENT
The Presidency has strongly denied reports that President Zuma was about to announce free higher education during his State of the Nation Address this year but was stopped by Treasury.
Zuma denied this allegation, saying that he appointed the commission of inquiry into the feasibility of funding higher education headed by Judge John Heher and waited for it to conclude its business.
He said that at no stage was his plan to undermine the commissions' work by making any premature announcements.
The president's spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said: “Any action will come from careful consideration of structures in government.”
Zuma is expected to release his findings after studying the Heher report soon.
(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)