The government has refused point-blank to reveal how much the free higher education announced by President Jacob Zuma is likely to cost, and where the money will come from, only that it will be within the approved national budget. The president announced in December that students from poor and working-class families with a combined annual income of up to R350,000 will be fully subsidised for their Technical Vocational Education and Training Colleges (TVET) or university fees. Briefing the media in Pretoria ahead of the release of matric results on Thursday, Higher Education Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize said that Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba was very much part of the process and had made a plea for the government not to delve into the funding details of the new higher education funding policy. Pressed for answers, Mkhize said: "I may not be able to give you an exact amount … I do not want to be in conflict with the Finance Minister. He made a plea to [Zuma] not to delve into that space...

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