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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

NRF researcher addresses racial debates in classrooms
2017-03-24

Description: Dr Marthinus Conradie Tags: Dr Marthinus Conradie

Dr Marthinus Conradie, senior lecturer in the
Department of English, is one of 31 newly-rated National
Research Foundation researchers at the University of
the Free State.
Photo: Rulanzen Martin

Exploring numerous norms and assumptions that impede the investigation of racism and racial inequalities in university classrooms, was central to the scope of the research conducted by Dr Marthinus Conradie, a newly Y-rated National Research Foundation (NRF) researcher.

Support from various colleagues
He is one of 31 newly-rated researchers at the University of the Free State (UFS) and joins the 150 plus researchers at the university who have been rated by the NRF. Dr Conradie specialises in sociolinguistics and cultural studies in the UFS Department of English. “Most of the publications that earned the NRF rating are aimed to contributing a critical race theoretic angle to longstanding debates about how questions surrounding race and racism are raised in classroom contexts,” he said.

Dr Conradie says he is grateful for the support from his colleagues in the Department of English, as well as other members of the Faculty of the Humanities. “Although the NRF rating is assigned to a single person, it is undoubtedly the result of support from a wide range of colleagues, including co-authors Dr Susan Brokensha, Prof Angelique van Niekerk, and Dr Mariza Brooks, as well as our Head of Department, Prof Helene Strauss,” he said.

Should debate be free of emotion?
His ongoing research has not been assigned a title yet, as he and his co-author does not assign titles prior to drafting the final manuscript. “Most, but not all, of the publications included in my application to the NRF draw from discourse analysis of a Foucauldian branch, including discursive psychology,” Dr Conradie says. His research aims to suggest directions and methods for exploring issues about race, racism, and racial equality relating to classroom debates. One thread of this body of work deals with the assumption that classroom debates must exclude emotions. Squandering opportunities to investigate the nature and sources of the emotions provoked by critical literature, might obstruct the discussion of personal histories and experiences of discrimination. “Equally, the demand that educators should control conversations to avoid discomfort might prevent in-depth treatment of broader, structural inequalities that go beyond individual prejudice,” Dr Conradie said. A second stream of research speaks to media representations and cultural capital in advertising discourse. A key example examines the way art from European and American origins are used to imbue commercial brands with connotations of excellence and exclusivity, while references to Africa serve to invoke colonial images of unspoiled landscapes.

A hope to inspire further research
Dr Conradie is hopeful that fellow academics will refine and/or alter the methods he employed, and that they will expand, reinterpret, and challenge his findings with increasing relevance to contemporary concerns, such as the drive towards decolonisation. “When I initially launched the research project (with significant aid from highly accomplished co-authors), the catalogue of existing scholarly works lacked investigations along the particular avenues I aimed to address.”

Dr Conradie said that his future research projects will be shaped by the scholarly and wider social influences he looks to as signposts and from which he hopes to gain guidelines about specific issues in the South African society to which he can make a fruitful contribution.

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