The Sunday Times reported on Sunday that Zuma had wanted to announce free education as early as February this year but was blocked by National Treasury during Pravin Gordhan's tenure as finance minister.
South Africa's main opposition party yesterday said it had asked the High Court to force President Jacob Zuma to disclose how much the State has spent on legal fees to fight corruption allegations against him.
In response to the story, the Presidency on Sunday said Zuma never planned to make such an announcement, calling The Sunday Times story a fabrication. "The thrust of SONA2017 was radical economic transformation flowing from the governing party the ANC's January 8 statement and the Cabinet and governing party makgotla".
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"The President waited for the Commission to conclude its business", the presidency said in a statement.
However, it emerged this week that Zuma was pushing ahead with the plan to announce fully subsidised higher education for students coming from families earning a combined income of not more than R350,000 a year, despite a warning from the interministerial committee headed by Radebe that the plan was a risk to the economy, the newspaper reported. "Any action going forward will result from careful consideration by relevant structures in government‚" Ngqulunga said on Sunday.
Zuma's plan to announce free higher education apparently generated panic among senior officials in Treasury, including threats by some to resign.
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