President Jacob Zuma sprung an early morning surprise at the weekend when he announced the provision of fee-free higher education for the poor and working class, hours before the ANC’s 54th national elective conference started at Nasrec. The conference will enter into a crucial phase this week, during which a new party head will emerge, as well as a national executive committee. The committee election will be crucial for whomever comes out on top because the support of the structure will determine how much power a new party president will wield. In terms of Zuma’s fees statement, the Treasury "noted the announcement" in a short statement on Saturday. The R12bn surprise was met with mixed reactions, with Banking Association SA MD Cas Coovadia cautioning that the announcement could be "unfortunately a way of fooling South Africans by adopting unaffordable populist policies in the name of the poor without the ability or even the political will to deliver". "The impact of this policy on...

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