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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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Junior researcher makes Kovsies proud

Herkulaas Combrink received the Junior Researcher Award at the 3rd Annual Health Research Day held on 30 and 31 October 2014. On this day, clinicians and scientists shared information on research that will impact health in the Free State.

Combrink is a student in the Faculty of Health Sciences’ Department of Human Genetics, as well as Medical Science intern with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). His research project: ‘Familial Breast Cancer in BRCA1 and BRCA2 within the Indian population of South Africa’ forms part of an umbrella study which looks at the various populations of South Africa for familial breast cancer mutations within BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, so that diagnostic panels can be created. This is the first study of its kind to be done on this population group in South Africa.

He says: “I am passionate about my research and the impact of my work. I am hard-working and believe in the value of my contribution to science. My philosophy is that theory must always be put into practice. I apply this philosophy to everything I pursue.”

The research week was held by the School of Medicine in conjunction with the Free State Department of Health.

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