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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. 

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Nadine Gordimer lauds university for transformation
2012-11-09

Nadine Gordimer
Photo: Sonia Small
09 November 2012

Lecture (Pdf format)

Renowned writer and Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer has lauded the university for its efforts at reconciliation, highlighting several initiatives the university has put in place over the last few years.

She delivered the inaugural Reconciliation Lecture on the Bloemfontein Campus, and was introduced as a “champion of human oneness” by Prof. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Senior Research Professor on Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation, who also referred to Gordimer as “the living expression of the power of critical consciousness”.

Gordimer praised the university by saying it was doing things in South Africa differently from what had been done during the country’s shameful past. In a message addressed at students, her lecture touched on topics of race, reconciliation, freedom of expression, education, inequality and poverty.

“Black and white – we have been conditioned; no, brain-washed, by legal and cultural and even religious, demeaning distinctions between race and colour. This university has discarded; is tackling these: an image breaking of false consciousness. We await your generation’s entry to public life, when you come out of the University of the Free State equipped to bring to us, along with your professional degrees, the way to function in a population as the human beings you have learnt to be at this university.”

The Nobel laureate also warned students of threats facing South Africa’s future.

“What is your reaction, then, to the Protection of State Information Act, the Secrecy Act that has been drop on our heads? The Secrecy Act means that we the people are not allowed to know the facts about our own country. Know how our society, our population is manoeuvred by those entrusted and empowered by our votes.”

The inaugural lecture was hosted by the Vice-Chancellor and Rector, prof. Jonathan Jansen, and the Rectorate, with the support of the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice and Prof. Gobodo-Madikizela.

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