27 September 2022 | Story Dr Nitha Ramnath

2022 UFS Thought-Leader Series


a panel discussion titled

A look into the Future of South Africa

Join online at livestream.ufs.ac.za

The University of the Free State is pleased to present the UFS Thought-Leader panel discussion titled, A look into the future of South Africa, which is part of the 2022 Thought-Leader Series. As a public higher-education institution in South Africa with a responsibility to contribute to public discourse, the University of the Free State (UFS) will be presenting the panel discussion in collaboration with the Free State Literature Festival and News24. This event will bring together expert thought leaders such as Moeletsi Mbeki, Pieter du Toit, and Dr Mareve Biljohn to share insights on the social, political, economic, and business landscape of South Africa and what it means for our future. The panel discussion will be facilitated by Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

Panel discussion presented on 6 October 2022

South Africa is at a precipice – unemployment is at an all-time high, almost half the population receives income from the state every month, there is an absence of policy systems with no leadership in the country at all levels, and complete distrust exists between government and communities. The current national administration has no interest in creating an environment for entrepreneurship and growth. The expectation of investment to grow the economy is far-fetched. An increase in privatisation is taking place and gaining moment in areas such as security and provision of electricity, among others. As we approach the end of 2022 and reflect on the year that was, what opportunities are there to regain the confidence of our nation, establish much-needed credibility globally, and charter our country into a prosperous and successful terrain – where do we see ourselves? These are some of the aspects we look forward to discussing with the esteemed panel.

Date: Thursday 6 October 2022
Albert Wessels Auditorium, Bloemfontein Campus

Refreshments will be served.

For further information, contact Alicia Pienaar at pienaaran1@ufs.ac.za.

Some of the topics discussed by leading experts in 2021 included, among others, reimagining universities for student success; corruption in South Africa – the endemic pandemic; South African politics and the local government elections; is South Africa falling apart: where to from here; predications for 2022; and why vaccinate? This year’s webinar series commenced on 31 May 2022 with the topic Crime in South Africa – who is to blame?  This was followed by webinars held in July and September, respectively titled Are our glasses half full or half empty? and What needs to be done to POWER up South Africa?


Prof Francis Petersen

Rector and Vice-Chancellor, UFS


Moeletsi Mbeki
Deputy Chairperson
The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA)

Pieter du Toit
Assistant Editor
In-depth news

Dr Mareve Biljohn
Head: Department of Public Administration and Management
University of the Free State

Bios of speakers:

Moeletsi Mbeki

Mr Moeletsi Mbeki is a political analyst, author, and entrepreneur. He is a director of several companies, Chairman of KMM Investments (Pty) Limited, KMM Review Publishing (Pty) Limited, MGM Capital Investments (Pty) Limited, and Executive Chairman of Pomegranate Media (Pty) Ltd. Mr Mbeki is the author of Architects of Poverty: Why African Capitalism Needs Changing. He edited Advocates for Change: How to Overcome Africa’s Challenges. Both books have been translated into Chinese. He recently co-authored A Manifesto for Social Change: How to Save South Africa with his niece, Dr Nobantu Mbeki. He is Deputy Chairman of the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) – an independent think tank based at the University of the Witwatersrand – and is a member of the council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which is based in London. After returning to South Africa from exile in 1990, he was appointed Head of Communications for the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), and Media Consultant for the African National Congress. During most of the 1980s, he was a senior journalist for Zimbabwe Newspapers in Harare. As a result of the outstanding work that he did for the Zimbabwe Newspapers Features Department, he was awarded a Nieman Fellowship from Harvard University for the 1988-1989 academic years. Mbeki began his journalism career in London in 1979 as a contributor to the Africa, New African, and Africa Now magazines and the BBC Africa Service. He studied Building, Building Management, and Sociology in England, obtaining an MA degree in Sociology from the University of Warwick in 1982. He worked in the construction industry in the United Kingdom and in Tanzania during the 1970s.

Pieter du Toit

Pieter du Toit is Assistant Editor at News24, where he is Head of Investigative Journalism. He was previously a crime reporter, parliamentary correspondent, and news editor at Beeld and Netwerk24. He is the author of two books – Enemy of the People, which is about state capture – and The Stellenbosch Mafia. His third book, The ANC Billionaires, will be published next month.

Dr Mareve Biljohn

Maréve IM Biljohn is a senior lecturer and Head of the Department of Public Administration and Management at the University of the Free State. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Public Administration (University of the Free State), Master of Public Administration (Stellenbosch University), BPA (Honours) Public Administration (Stellenbosch University), BAdmin (Honours) Industrial Psychology (University of the Western Cape), and BAdmin (University of the Western Cape). Prior to her appointment at the University of the Free State, she worked for a district municipality in the Western Cape, South Africa. Her research interests and expertise are in the fields of social innovation in service delivery, citizen participation in local government service delivery, and citizen participation in the governance of local government service delivery. She has presented her research at several local and international research conferences and published her research in local and international journals. Her work includes, among others, publications on:

  • Social innovation as an alternative approach to South African local government service delivery.
  • Determinants for citizen and third-sector participation during social innovation in local government service delivery.
  • Considerations for South African local government for using SI in open and closed governance systems.

She has also authored and co-authored book chapters, titled ‘Leading self in South Africa’s VUCA local government environment’, and ‘Social innovation to enhance service delivery by local government’

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