Cape Town – The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) has called on the government to "work tirelessly" to ensure that free higher education becomes a reality.
The ANCYL was reacting to President Jacob Zuma's release of the findings of the Heher Commission into the Feasibility of Fee-Free Higher Education and Training on Monday.
Zuma received the report from the commission in August, but held on to it while rumours emerged that he planned to find R40bn in the budget to fund free higher education next year.
"The ANCYL welcomes some recommendations as made to by the commission. Notable is the recommendation of establishing an education fund [to] which most institutions and individuals can contribute," said ANCYL spokesperson Mondli Mkhize in a statement.
"We encourage that main players be both government and the private sector which should contribute."
"The ANCYL calls on the government of the ANC to take proactive action in fast-tracking these in the National Assembly," said Mkhize.
The report also explicitly stated that free higher education in South Africa was not feasible, but the ANCYL said nothing about this.
"The ANCYL calls on government to work tirelessly in ensuring that free education is implemented. We call on government to start implementing free education as of next year, 2018. We make this demand out of a reality that is not desirable in South Africa."
Mkhize said according to Statistics South Africa, young South Africans were less skilled than older generations.
"That is bad," he said. "It is a legitimate evolutionary expectation that the youth should have more skills than their parents. The only way to [turn] this around is free education, particularly in areas which the report identified as areas where we need to do improvement on TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training colleges)."
"The ANCYL remains clear without doubt that free education is a must in SA under these conditions. There can never be economic freedom through radical economic transformation that will neglect education as source and means of give more skills to youth (sic)," reads the press release.
"Education remains the pillar of skills, knowledge and development of many things including information itself. How could this be preserve of the privilege few? (sic)."
On Monday the EFF also stated its commitment to free higher education.