President Jacob Zuma on Saturday announced that government will introduce fully-funded free higher education for poor and working class students, a plan which will be phased in over the next 5 years.
This will affect 90% of South African households.
The announcement comes on the morning of the start of the 54th ANC Elective Conference at Nasrec in Johannesburg.
Many analysts criticised the President's timing as a tactic to disrupt the party's conference and hopefully sway its outcomes.
Minister of Higher Education and Training, Hlengiwe Mkhize rubbished these claims saying they have been hard at work trying to come up with a better solution in offering free education to the poor.
The President had to come back to the public ... there is really nothing new, even the university principals have been briefed about it as well as the student bodies - everybody has been hard at work.— Hlengiwe Mkhize, Minister of Higher Education and Training
What I am saying is that everybody who understands the processes would not say all of a sudden the President Zuma has come with this. He couldn't announce before we met with the NEC— Hlengiwe Mkhize, Minister of Higher Education and Training
It has been an intense consultation and of course guarding against the budget which has been presented by the Minister of Finance— Hlengiwe Mkhize, Minister of Higher Education and Training
To hear more of this interview with Minister of Higher Education Hlengiwe Mkhize, listen below: