ANC national executive committee member Zizi Kodwa, who also serves as the party's national spokesman. Picture: EUGENE COETZEE/THE HERALD
Zizi Kodwa. Picture: EUGENE COETZEE/THE HERALD

THE ANC has described the government decision on fees as "a significant step forward towards the progressive realisation of free education for the poor".

Spokesman Zizi Kodwa said on Tuesday that it was "in line with ANC policy positions and the Freedom Charter call that, ‘Higher education and technical training shall be opened to all by means of state allowances and scholarships awarded on the basis of merit’".

He said the party "calls upon all stakeholders to support recommendations tabled" by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande‚ and urged "students and university management to desist from engaging in any negative and unlawful activities within our institutions during this period".

Some campuses around the country have been forced to cancel operations as protests spread following Monday’s announcement.

Kodwa said the ANC supported Nzimande’s announcement "that all students from poor‚ working class and middle class families – with a household income of less than R600,000 per annum – will not experience any increase in universities fees in the 2017 academic year and that government would pay for the fee adjustment".

"Much has been done by the ANC-led government to ensure that no child from poor and working class backgrounds are denied access to education in South Africa‚" Kodwa said.

He added that government’s "allocation of more than R9-billion per annum to the NFSAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) to provide a sustainable financial aid system for poor and academically eligible students" was "one of the greatest achievements of our democratic government post-1994".

Kodwa said that while the Fees Commission continues its work‚ "the private sector cannot and should not be absolved from playing their role in developing the skills and competencies desperately needed by our economy".

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