The ANC has said it welcomes the decision not to increase tertiary fees for poor and “missing middle” students, as announced yesterday by Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande.

“The decision represents a significant step forward towards the progressive realisation of free education for the poor in line with ANC policy positions and the Freedom Charter call that higher education and technical training shall be opened to all by means of state allowances and scholarships awarded on the basis of merit”,” the party said via press statement.

Nzimande said universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges should determine for themselves the fee increment they would impose for 2017, but that it shouldn’t go beyond 8%.

Students from households earning R600 000 a year and less, will not pay the fee increment but instead government will be funding this.

“The ANC commends the Minister of Higher Education and Training for embarking on the elaborate consultative process on this matter. We further express our appreciation to all stakeholders who participated in said consultation process and the contribution that this made towards solutions that are being advanced [sic],” it added.

The party called upon all stakeholders to support recommendations tabled by the minister. It also urged students and university management to desist from engaging in unlawful activities, such as the destruction of university property.

“Government and universities will continue to seek a lasting solution through the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training with its stated intention to ‘achieve a far-reaching reconstitution of the entire post-school education and training funding system’. As this work continues, the private sector cannot and should not be absolved from playing their role in developing the skills and competencies desperately needed by our economy,” the ANC concluded.