A decade after his election as ANC president, when he took the podium at Nasrec to deliver his valedictory address this week, President Jacob Zuma reminded us about his profound ability to apply political dichotomy. This quintessentially Zuma phenomenon refers to his ability to create an irreconcilable separation between his powers and responsibilities as the ANC president on one hand and the responsibilities of state president on the other. On the first morning of the ANC’s 54th conference, Zuma surprised all stakeholders by releasing a media statement indicating that free higher education would be rolled out from 2018 — less than four weeks hence. The statement was the latest twist in the saga that reached crisis point two years ago during the #FeesMustFall movement. Since then, various engagements with stakeholders across the board have been initiated to explore the feasibility of meeting the demands of the student movement. In the October medium-term budget policy statement, the...

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