Former president Jacob Zuma has a point when he questions why it has taken so long to introduce free higher education in South Africa.
Zuma, delivering a lecture in uMlazi in KwaZulu-Natal on the eve of the country celebrating 24 years of freedom, said his decision to implement free education was “already three years too late”.
“Why did we take over 20 years before we implemented this?” asked Zuma, adding that the Freedom Charter guaranteed free education.
While Zuma’s move to implement free education is a bold, and necessary one, the way he did it is questionable, handing new President Cyril Ramaphosa a ticking timebomb. Zuma went against the recommendations of the Heher commission of inquiry into higher education and put the new president on the spot.
However, this week Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor gave hope for free higher education as she said progress had been made to ensure the new bursary scheme was implemented successfully. Free higher education is available to first-time entry students from families with a gross combined annual income of up to R350 000.
Former president Nelson Mandela put it best when he said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Wise words indeed.
Now it’s time to find a solid solution.