South African Government to honour free education promise

South Africa’s finance minister has said the government will go ahead with plans to provide free higher education for 90% of new students.

President Jacob Zuma announced the plan at ruling African National Congress (ANC) conference in December.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba told journalists that “the decision has been made” – and his department is now working on how funding is provided.

But on that question, he said South Africans will have to wait until the budget in February for details.

Mr Zuma announced free higher education would be given to students from homes which have a combined annual income of up to South African rand 350,000 ($28,000; £20,000).

The new policy goes against a commission finding that such plans were unaffordable.

There have been fears that universities and colleges might not be able to cope with the expected increase in applicants.

Last year local media estimated such a policy could cost $3bn.

But the government says it will cost close to $1bn