07/01/2018 06:49 GMT | Updated 07/01/2018 07:25 GMT

Nzimande On Free Higher Education: 'Where Is The Money Going To Come From?'

"It is very important the announcement made by Zuma must be clarified as a matter of urgency."

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SACP general-secretary Blade Nzimande has slammed President Jacob Zuma's announcement of free tertiary education, questioning where the money would come from.

Nzimande was speaking at the 23-anniversary commemoration of Joe Slovo in Soweto on Saturday.

Nzimande, the former Minister of higher education who was in the spotlight during #FeesMustFall protests, said while the move was welcomed, there was no indication where the money would be coming from.

"It is very important the announcement made by Zuma must be clarified as a matter of urgency. If we don't handle this correctly, a train is coming," he said.

"Can we afford free Higher Education, as announced on the 16th of December, and at the same time have a nuclear deal? Can we do these things? Where is this money going to come from?" he asked.

"We want to say now as the SACP we are not going to allow the increase of VAT to fund this higher education, or allow fees to be taken from UIF or PIC to fund it," he said,

Nzimande said to do so would essentially be saying the poor must fund their own children's higher education.

He also questioned why the ANC had been quiet on the issue, saying there should be calls for registrations to be done in accordance with agreed upon, and not to allow the EFF's opportunism to derail the issue.

"Higher education must be transformed and not destroyed," he said.

Nzimande congratulated the class of 2017, but said it was also important that learners realise university was not the only option available to them.

"As a country we must reflect, are we not putting too much pressure on individuals? We must make sure we don't put undue pressure on these young people," he said.