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06 March 2020 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Stephen Collett
Lesetja Kganyago, Governor of the South African Reserve Bank
Reserve Bank Governor, Lesetja Kganyago, presented a public lecture at the UFS on 4 March 2020.

With a 7% fiscal deficit on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) projected by the National Treasury for the 2020/21 financial year, it would not take long to arrive at a dangerous level of debt at the rate that South Africa is borrowing. Although the South African Reserve Bank Governor, Lesetja Kganyago, does not consider a debt to GDP rate of 60% a disaster, he did express his concern regarding the country’s fiscal deficits being over 6% of the GDP.

Governor Kganyago presented a public lecture at the University of the Free State (UFS) on 4 March 2020, focusing on how we should use macro-economic policy and its role in our economic growth problem.

Unsustainable policies 
South Africa’s fiscal situation is not about tight monetary policy. According to the Governor: “Weak growth is endogenous in our fiscal problems. We cannot keep doing what we are doing and hope that growth will recover and save us. Growth is low, in large part, because of unsustainable policy.”

Avoiding an impending crisis
To address the problem, as a policymaker with more than 20 years’ experience, the Governor suggested that the recommendations made by Minister Tito Mboweni be taken into consideration. “The Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, is a man who says things that are true even when they are unpopular. His message is that we have to reduce spending and he is right to put this at the centre of our macro-economic debate,” said Governor Kganyago.

The state needs a radical economic turnaround strategy which is able to diminish the risk of losing market access and being forced to ask the International Monetary Fund for help. Governor Kganyago is positive that such a reformative tactic would go beyond monetary policy and ensure that the interest bill ceases to claim more of South Africa’s scarce resources. 

News Archive

Ground-breaking project scores Renewable Energy Award
2017-10-29

Description: ' 000 University Estates award Tags: University Estates award 

Marcel Theron, Former President: HEFMA; Nico van Rensburg, Senior Director:
University Estates (UFS); and Maureen Khati, Project Manager: Facilities
Planning (UFS) attending the HEFMA awards ceremony in Pretoria.
Photo: Supplied

University Estates at the University of the Free State (UFS) were recently awarded for their amazing initiative to install and operate photovoltaic (PV) and greywater systems on all three of its campuses. They were awarded by the Higher Education Facilities Management Association of Southern Africa (HEFMA), an association of facilities managers operating in the higher-education sector in the Southern African region. All universities and universities of technology in the country form part of this association, which promotes excellence in the planning, construction, maintenance, operations, and administration of educational facilities.

Nico van Rensburg, Senior Director of University Estates, says, “I want to thank HEFMA for this amazing award which motivates for much more and also opens up the doors for so many more opportunities.”

Solar and greywater systems installed at various buildings

In December 2016, 26 solar-driven LED street-light poles and a greywater system were installed at the Legae Residence on the South Campus. Greywater is made up of bath, shower, and bathroom sink water. The water is reused for toilet flushing, as well as for irrigation purposes.

On the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses, the computer laboratories as well as the Thakaneng Bridge Student Centre and the expected Afromontane Research Centre have freestanding solar solutions mounted on their roofs. These systems are designed to operate independently of the power grid (Eskom) during sunlight hours when the PV solar panels are heated by the sun.

Teamwork equals ground-breaking results

“This was truly a team effort with a variety of role players who contributed,” says Van Rensburg. He believes that higher education can do more to make use of other environmentally sustainable initiatives, and to go beyond just erecting and renovating buildings.

The UFS executive management is also extremely proud of the team that were involved in the project. Prof Nicky Morgan, former Vice-Rector: Operations, says, “It’s been extraordinary what we could achieve at all three campuses with such a small team.” Nadeem Gafieldien, Director: Property Services at Stellenbosch University, showered the UFS with praise. “This is truly ground-breaking for Higher Education (HE) and you are truly leaders in these renewable energy projects in the HE sector.” He says we need to demonstrate to other institutions in the HE sector that this is the future and that it makes the institutions both environmentally and financially sustainable.

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