Photo: KIM LUDBROOK/EPA

Johannesburg - The ANC has hailed President Jacob Zuma’s announcement of a 0 percent increase in varsity fees next year as an example of the “young people of South Africa once again (making) history”.

In a statement, the governing party said youth who took to the streets on Friday had emulated “the courageous and fearless generation of 1976”.

“They stood as a united force and presented to government their unequivocal demands for accessible, quality education,” the party said.

In return, the government listened.

“While much has been done to progressively realise free education, we accept that the pace of transformation, coupled with the structural and systematic impediments in our higher education system, has been unsatisfactory,” the ANC said.

“Delivering free education remains a central component of the ANC's policy framework. We have however always known that its attainment would not be without its challenges and limitations.

“It is against this background that the African National Congress applauds the youth of our country for uncompromisingly bringing this issue to the fore and sending a strong message that transformation can no longer be delayed.”

The party said the campaign for accessible education was still far from over.

It congratulated the Progressive Youth Alliance and thousands of students for the “disciplined and decisive campaign they waged”.

“We also acknowledge the role that was played by many in our society to support students. We appeal to society to now lend the same level of support and solidarity to these students in their continuing endeavours for accessible quality education,” it said.

Labour Bureau

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