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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

Little ‘Devil’s Worm’ on Top 10 New Species list
2012-05-29

 

Halicephalobus mephisto (Devil’s Worm)
Photo: Supplied
29 May 2012

A minuscule little worm found and researched with the assistance of researchers at the university has made it onto the list of Top 10 New Species of the world. The list was published by the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) at Arizona State University and a committee of scientists from around the world. It lists the top ten new species described in 2011.

An article on the new worm species appeared in the authoritative journal Nature in June 2011.
 
Prof. Esta van Heerden, leader of the university’s research team, says, “In our wildest dreams, we could not have imagined that we would get so much reaction from the worm’s discovery. We had to do so many checks and balances to convince Nature that the worm could survive in the old and warm water. We were very excited when the article was accepted but the media reaction was unbelievable.”
 
The tiny nematode, Halicephalobus mephisto (Devil’s Worm) of about 0,5 mm in length, is the deepest-living terrestrial multi-cellular organism on earth. It was discovered in the Beatrix gold mine near Welkom at a depth of 1,3 km.
 
The IISE says in a statement the species is remarkable for surviving immense underground pressure as well as high temperatures. The borehole water where this species lives has not been in contact with the earth’s atmosphere for the last 4 000 to 6 000 years.  
 
This top-10 list includes a sneezing monkey; a beautiful, but venomous jellyfish; a fungus named after a popular TV cartoon character; a night-blooming orchid; an ancient walking cactus creature; and a tiny wasp. A vibrant poppy, a giant millipede and a blue tarantula also made it onto the list.
 
The international selection committee made its choice from more than 200 nominations. They looked for species that captured the attention because they were unusual or because they had bizarre traits. Some of the new species have interesting names.
 
Prof. Van Heerden says, “We are very thankful for the exposure that the university gets as a result of the inclusion on the list and we enjoy the international cooperation immensely.”

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