Zuma's rumoured free education plan could be ploy for 2019, says Ralph Mathekga

President Jacob Zuma's rumoured free education plan could be part of a strategy to retain support from the student constituency come 2019, says political analyst Ralph Mathekga.

Reports have surfaced over the weekend claiming that Zuma is planning to announce government's plan to provide free education at tertiary institutions.

The Presidency has since issued a statement denying reports of an impending announcement.

Read: Free education for TVETs and university loans provided says Presidency

Meanwhile, National Treasury's head of budget Michael Sachs has resigned from his position over alleged interference by Zuma.

Mathekga says the rumors of free education are in line with Zuma's rhetoric on radical economic transformation, which has gained traction in certain quarters of South Africa.

Also read: Free education should've been implemented a long time ago - Holomisa

Don't underestimate the weight of the 2019 election and how that might come as a factor into this.

Ralph Mathekga, political analyst

The ANC will become more and more populist when it is going into the 2019 elections. The populist rhetoric has set in within the ANC.

Ralph Mathekga, political analyst

They know that if they go into 2019 with this idea, it gives them a good chance to retain some of their support.

Ralph Mathekga, political analyst

At the same time, the Presidency released the Heher Commission report on the feasibility of free higher education early on Monday.

Mathekga says Zuma is not legally obliged to implement the recommendations of the report.

Read the Fees Commission Report here.

Take a listen to this analysis:


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