It is wholly unsurprising that the populist dream of free higher education is coming apart at the seams. Who could not have foreseen that just three years after the government made the rash promise to fully subsidise the studies of students from 90% of SA households it would blow up in its face, once the cash ran out?One person who won’t be surprised is judge Jonathan Heher. In August 2017, the Heher commission, established by former president Jacob Zuma to determine the feasibility of free higher education, concluded that those who can afford it, must pay. "There is insufficient financial capacity in the state to provide totally free higher education and training to all who are unable to finance their own education," he said.Heher made a deeply unpopular recommendation of income-contingent loans for everyone. These loans would be issued by commercial banks, and only once students graduated and earned over a certain amount would they be obliged to repay their loan. Repayment was vit...

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