Manamela made the reassurance during his visit to the University of Walter Sisulu in Mdantsane and Buffalo City TVET College, a day before ruling party president Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the party's January 8 statement in the city.
Manamela said Zuma's announcement was not made haphazardly, but was researched by the higher education, finance, science and technology and state security departments after the Heher Commission had completed its investigation on the matter.
He said President Jacob Zuma's announcement on December 16 would have serious implications for universities and TVET colleges.
“It is a collective announcement, and I think one of the mistakes is to personalise the announcement to the president. As the president he set up the commission, and he took up the responsibility for ensuring that we steer the country out of the crisis that was facing many of our institutions in ensuring that all young people have access to the education,” he said.
He said he and Higher Education Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize would ensure all students qualifying for free education enrolled this academic year.
He said Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and Mkhize would investigate the historical debt by students, and announce how this would be settled.
He said Gigaba would announce, during his budget speech, where the free education funding would come from.