Johannesburg - The African National Congress wants government to provide free tertiary education to poor students in the 2018 academic year, the party's secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Monday."Fully subsidised grants should be provided to academically qualifying poor students. Poor students are defined as coming from families who earn a gross family income of R150 000 and below per annum," Mantashe said.The proposal emerged from the ANC national executive committee lekgotla over the weekend, ahead of the Cabinet lekgotla that starts on Tuesday.READ: Preparing SA for free, quality decolonial educationThe ANC said students whose families earned between R150 000 and R600 00 per annum should be subsidised through a combination of grants and loans."Students will be required to maintain adequate academic performance, and failure to do so would lead to disqualification," Mantashe said.The ANC government is under pressure from within the party, and from students, to provide free education.The ANC Youth League called for free education to be implemented by 2018 at the party's national policy conference. There have also been nationwide Fees Must Fall protests.The ANC's recommendation comes ahead of findings by a commission established to investigate the feasibility of free higher education.The commission has until August 30 to release its findings.