22 February 2018 Photo Xolisa Mnukwa
Future of South Africa discussed at UFS peace conference
Delegates form the UFS and Osaka University gathered together at the Peace Conference.

The Department of Political Studies and Governance as well as the Centre for Africa Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS), together with the Osaka School of International Public Policy of Osaka University, jointly hosted a Quo Vadis South Africa Conference at the UFS on 12 and 13 February 2018.

Prof Hussein Solomon, Department of Political Studies and Governance, stated: “The focus is very much policy-oriented using academic insights to help resolve the myriad challenges confronting South Africa as a country as well as those on the continent.”

Prof Philippe Burger, Head of the Department of Economics and Acting Dean at the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at the UFS, spoke on the state of the national economy saying that factors contiguous to education could explain unemployment in South Africa. He pointed out that 60% of the population who were unemployed had not completed high school. He said only 20% of the employed population had tertiary education. Prof Burger said that labour-intensive, export-driven and investment-driven growth are the three integral sectors to consider when looking to improve the economy and overall growth of the country.

Prof Andre Duvenhage from North-West University delivered a presentation on his Strategic Perspectives of the ANC’s 2017 National Conference. Prof Duvenhage said that he had anticipated President Jacob Zuma’s recent departure from the ANC, saying his exit strategy had been negotiated behind the scenes. Some of his focal points included the state decay as a result of corrupt state practices, and the ideal future of the legitimate state which envisions the optimistic turn-around of the current condition of the South African Constitution.

“The future of Africa will be determined by politics”, said Jakkie Cilliers; Chairperson of the board, and Head of African futures and Innovation at the Institute for Security Studies. He explained that politics would drive events leading up to the national elective conference. This would offer political-election-outcome forecasts for 2019, 2024 and 2029 for the ANC, DA, EFF, and other national political parties.