Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba
JOHANNESBURG - Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba announced that Treasury has allocated an additional amount of R57-billion to the department of higher education and training in order to fund free university education for qualifying students.

Government will hold off on some of its capital projects and reduce spending on goods and services in order to find R57-billion to fund free tertiary education.

This means that that government procurement on goods and services reduces by R16.5-billion. Tansfers to provinces and municipalities will slash by R27.4-billion.

Treasury has been forced to scramble for additional money to fund free tertiary education following the surprise announcement by former president Jacob Zuma in December 2017, that education would be free. 

Gigaba noted that that the largest reallocation of resources towards government's priorities was on higher education and training‚ "amounting to additional funding of R57-billion over the medium term," he said.

Free tertiary education, for qualifying students from working-class families‚ with a combined family income of under R350‚000 per annum, will roll out to cover all years of study.

Returning students who have received financial support from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme will see their student loans converted into bursaries.

"This is an important step forward in breaking the cycle of poverty and confronting youth unemployment‚ as labour statistics show that unemployment is lowest for tertiary graduates‚" Gigaba said.