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Budget 2020: The finance minister’s speech won’t please everyone

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Budget 2020: The finance minister’s speech won’t please everyone

  • FEB 28
  • Tags Budget Speech, Minister of Finance, South Africa, Economics

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When considering various stakeholder and community needs across the country, it is clear that this year’s annual Budget Speech will not satisfy everyone.

Question:         Budget 2020 – What should the Finance Minister say/ announce that will prompt you to express your approval of or satisfaction with the speech?

Answer (international investment community): Trimming the budget deficit; a decline in the government debt-to GDP ratio; guarantees that “the lights will stay on”, selling off/ rationalisation of state-owned enterprises (SOEs); policy consistency; restoration of institutional integrity and competence.

Answer (local “big business”): Fewer civil servants and/or wage freeze for civil servants; greater involvement of private sector; alleviation of corporate tax burden;

Answer (local “small business”): Slash red tape; tax breaks for small businesses; relax labour legislation.

Answer (organised labour): Job creation; no more retrenchments; higher minimum wages;

Answer (disadvantaged/ poor/ unemployed South Africans): Increased government spending on and expansion of social grant system; lowering of VAT rate; more spending on health care and education;

Answer (local middle-income consumers): Lower personal income tax rates; no more load-shedding; visible end of corruption; Rand exchange rate stops weakening

Each of the above responses is understandable from the isolated perspective of each individual stakeholder. But the responses are also, on the whole, diametrically opposed to each other and mutually exclusive.  At best, most of the hopes and expectations patently display a misunderstanding of the realities of either political expedience, or economic plausibility, or both. Moreover, the annual budget speech is primarily an estimate of government revenue and expenditure over the next financial year, which may provide an indication of strategic economic directions via the spending priorities identified by the minister.

But the responses are also, on the whole, diametrically opposed to each other and mutually exclusive.

The budget speech can and should not be seen as the panacea to all our economic woes and maladies. This statement holds true even in the best of times. In some ways the South African economy is currently experiencing the worst of times, partly as a result of external forces, but more importantly, as a result of domestic constraints.

In this highly interconnected and integrated world, no country is immune to the impact of global forces. Thus, leaving aside any internal constraints, South Africa’s economic performance echoes that being experienced in most parts of the world. Globally, especially in the USA and Western Europe, populist, nationalistic, protectionist, and anti-establishment sentiments will probably persist. While the long-awaited Brexit “divorce papers” have, at last, been signed, the terms of the divorce have yet to be finalised. The impact on the UK and European economies (our largest trade partner) remains uncertain, although a net positive outcome for economic growth in the UK seems unlikely. Despite some tentative signs of rapprochement, trade relations between the world’s two largest and most influential economies (China and the USA) remain troubled.

If we want a satisfying meal of positive progress… a starting point might therefore be to acknowledge where others are right.

“The current Constitution – never mind any amendments under consideration – promises restitution to people and communities dispossessed of property as a result of racially discriminatory laws or practices going back to 1913. It gives Government broad latitude to carry this out. Any other proposed solution can and should be measured against ‘giving back the land’ to those who have legitimate expectations that it be returned.”

Prof Ganson urged recognition that the mixing of questions on the principles of restitution of land with those of whether and how people to whom land is returned would put it to productive use, “must be hurtful and angering in the extreme” to former black landholders and their descendants.

It reeks of the argument in favour of the Natives Land Act of 1913 by the President of the Chamber of Mines, who opined that it would end ‘the surplus of young men … squatting on the land in idleness’ – but in fact provided low wage workers for the mines as it destroyed families and communities for generations to come.”

Prof Ganson suggests that, “In relation to those currently holding land that may be returned in the name of restitution under the provisions of the Constitution, we can concede that many of the issues they raise – even if immaterial to the fundamental right of dispossessed people and communities to land – are real.”

He suggests that it need not be in contention that it would indeed be better for all South Africans if land reform is managed in a way that confronts the realities of the substantial bonds on many properties, minimises corruption, maximises food security, and improves the possibilities for people either to make their livelihoods from the land or to make their transition to urban life, each according to his or her choice.

He believes that such perspective-taking might in the first instance invite parties to let go of one-sided arguments that serve to raise hackles rather than engender any real problem solving.

“Putting tongue in cheek for a moment, the current owners of large plots in Bishopscourt and Sandhurst, or Plettenberg Bay and Umhlanga, might agree that the person to whom land is returned is entitled to do anything with it, or nothing at all – lest universal application of standards of idleness or lack of productive use put their own tenure in question.”

“Others might begin to realise that ‘expropriation without compensation’ is a wonderful rallying cry in the international press but fairly empty here at home. Property returned to its rightful owner is hardly being expropriated; and thus, the fundamental question that cannot be bypassed is not one of compensation, but one of just and rightful ownership consistent with the mandates of the Constitution for restoration and transformation.”

Despite some tentative signs of rapprochement, trade relations between the world’s two largest and most influential economies (China and the USA) remain troubled.

All in all, world economic growth in 2020 will be uninspiring. Although the USA and Western Europe should manage to stave off a full-blown recession, the pace of economic activity in the more developed regions could be just as lacklustre as in 2019. China will also be hard put to record an economic growth rate in excess of 6%, as the trade tension exerts its negative influence. Moreover, the reach and severity of the coronavirus remains, at this early stage, unclear. This jaded global economic performance will be mirrored in low inflation rates, raising the possibility of a general further softening of interest rates from already unprecedented lows.

All in all, world economic growth in 2020 will be uninspiring.

We can also expect the implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to be at the forefront of numerous analyses of the future of work, while climate change, its effects, and mitigation strategies will be one of the most important geopolitical issues in 2020. Through a process of osmosis the South African economy is expected to be as listless as the global norm.

In addition to the external forces, over which we have no control or influence, the Finance Minister also has to contend with a number of self-imposed obstacles – often self-imposed – to growth and development.

Underpinning the current constraints in the domestic economy is the fact that South Africa has become a deficit nation. Government expenditure exceeds government revenue; imports of goods and services exceed exports of goods and services; household consumption expenditure exceeds household disposable income; and the demand for investment goods exceeds the availability of domestic savings. In short, gross domestic expenditure (GDE; aggregate demand) has been higher than gross domestic product (GDP; total output) for a number of years.

As a consequence,

  • the household debt-to-disposable income ratio has been between 75% and 80% since 2007, compared to a long-term average of between 50% and 60% in the previous few decades;
  • government debt is rushing towards 60% and beyond of GDP, compared to 28% in 2008;
  • the ratio of foreign debt to GDP is 47%, compared to 19% in 2005; and
  • fixed investment spending in 2018 exceeded gross domestic savings by almost 4.0% of GDP (in 2002, savings exceeded investment by a factor of 2% of GDP).

The overarching and cross-cutting implication of the growing indebtedness of ‘SA (Pty) Ltd’ is that the country lives in perpetual hope that its various deficits will be financed by non-residents, at an affordable cost. Until a decade ago this outcome was generally achieved, as foreign savers found the country to be sufficiently attractive to warrant a meaningful investment in shares, bonds, plant, equipment and other forms of direct investment. But this might have been not so much a vote of confidence in South Africa, but rather a motion of no confidence in the short-term economic outlook then prevailing in the USA, Western Europe, and Japan. Today, investors are probably finding it more difficult to formulate good reasons for financing South Africa’s fiscal, household, foreign and savings deficits. On reflection, therefore, South Africa’s relatively robust economic growth performance during the first few years of the 2000s was largely driven by consumer and investment spending, which, in turn, was accommodated by rapidly expanding debt. In fact, levels. The latter are not sustainable. In fact, the last few years have seen a modest decline in the share of household debt to disposable income as the households attempt to restore the integrity of their balance sheets. This has moderated the growth in consumer spending.

In fact, the last few years have seen a modest decline in the share of household debt to disposable income as the households attempt to restore the integrity of their balance sheets.

Government, however, has yet to follow suit. It is now in “injury time”; there are no more second chances. Although Moody’s has to date elected to retain South Africa’s sovereign debt investment status, the risks of a downgrade to junk bond status are real. There is particular concern among investors about the financial crisis being experienced by Eskom and other state-owned enterprises. As the government continues to bail them out, the mountain of debt continues to grow. Should Moody’s decide to relegate South Africa’s government debt instruments to junk bond status the consequences will, not surprisingly, be negative, as this would mean a “full house” – all three of the major credit rating agencies would have then given the government a stamp of disapproval. To start off with, it will become more difficult and more expensive to secure new loans. Rising borrowing costs will be borne ultimately by tax payers and consumers, thereby suppressing consumer spending and economic growth. At the same time, the cost of living will probably rise at a faster rate. The exchange rate of the rate will possibly weaken more severely than would otherwise have been the case. Foreign investment sentiment will be negatively influenced. Social spending by government will be constrained, unemployment could rise, and the overall socio-economic state of the country would be compromised.

Rising borrowing costs will be borne ultimately by tax payers and consumers, thereby suppressing consumer spending and economic growth.

In these circumstances this year’s budget must show a serious and plausible intent to, at the very minimum, curb the accumulation of debt. This requires a marked narrowing of the budget deficit by restraining the growth in government spending and/or raising tax revenue. The former will compromise the well-being of the poorer members of society. Given the very low economic growth expectations, the chances of organic growth in tax revenue are slim; this means that government will only be able to generate higher revenue through (upward) adjustments to existing tax rates. The usual increase in “sin tax” rates will not be sufficient. The most efficient mechanism would be another one percentage point increase in the VAT rate, which could yield an additional R20bn. This idea will be met with insurmountable political resistance, even though the burden on the poor could be relieved by, for instance, raising social grants and/or expanding the range of essential goods that are taxed at 0%. Failing this, the brunt of the higher tax burden is bound to fall on the private sector – specifically through a lifting of the maximum marginal rates of tax on personal income, and possibly the introduction of a “wealth tax”. Higher corporate tax rates might also be considered.

Normally, one would expect a government to adopt a stimulatory fiscal stance during times of economic stagnation. Now, however, if anything, an austerity approach is called for, with consumers, the business sector, workers, and the unemployed paying the price for past fiscal recklessness, foolishness, and indiscretions.

Meanwhile, for President Ramaphosa the honeymoon period has exceeded its sell-by date – 2020 is the year for him to show his mettle in dealing firmly and decisively with the legacy of the previous leadership. Included here are

  • The restoration of the autonomy and integrity of our democratic institutions (e.g., the Public Protector, the NPA, the criminal justice system).
  • Improving the country’s stock of social capital (trust, goodwill, shared values).
  • Not just paying lip service to the notion of stamping out endemic corruption.
  • The rebooting of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) – not least of which Eskom.

Tough decisions are called for, difficult trade-offs will have to be made (especially in trying to balance efficiency with equity), and immediate results are unlikely to materialise. And the challenges are exacerbated by the reality of factionalism within the ruling party. The cocktail of political turbulence is further fuelled by debates about land reform, the National Health Insurance programme, the chronically high unemployment rate, and pervasive inequality.

The cocktail of political turbulence is further fuelled by debates about land reform, the National Health Insurance programme, the chronically high unemployment rate, and pervasive inequality.

If Minister Tito Mboweni gets his way, we can expect him to table a necessarily restrictive – and therefore largely unpopular – budget speech in February. At the same time, it would be politically untenable to turn a blind eye to the very real predicament facing millions of South Africans – poverty, unemployment, and disillusionment. The notion of actually reducing government outlays on, for instance, education, social grants, and health care, is, in the circumstances, a ludicrous one.

When all is said and done, the minister’s budget speech will probably come in for a great deal of criticism from both friend and foe.

When all is said and done, the minister’s budget speech will probably come in for a great deal of criticism from both friend and foe. The simple budget arithmetic and the underlying conditions and unrealistic expectations are incompatible with one another. Things will first have to get worse for a while before they get better. But if the right strategic decisions are made with conviction and clarity of purpose and intent, 2020 might just be the year in which the seeds of a moderate recovery are planted. We should not allow our judgement of the country’s longer term future to be entirely clouded by day-to-day failures and indiscretions. In the words of Steven Pinker:  “To understand the world we should follow the trendlines, not the headlines.”

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Is the Future of Internationalisation of Higher Education Threatened?

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Is the future of internationalisation of higher education threatened?

  • FEB 24
  • Tags Academic Opening, Internationalisation, Higher Education, Nasima Badsha

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The academic year at the University of Stellenbosch Business School kicked off with its annual Academic Opening on 6 February 2020, under the theme of International Education. But while the business school is making remarkable headway in upping the ante with regards to the internationalisation of higher education, the evening’s keynote speaker did not ignore the obstacles that need to be overcome.

Nasima Badsha, who pioneered access, equity and social justice in the South African higher education system and played a key role in conceptualising a new higher education dispensation in the country, raised the question at the opening of the USB academic year function, with “in a rapidly changing global context how do we preserve the best aspects of internationalisation for future generations to enjoy?”

In a rapidly changing global context how do we preserve the best aspects of internationalisation for future generations to enjoy?

She said that internationalisation is closely related to the dynamic process of globalisation, implying the relationship between and amongst people, countries and systems and cultures. “Even though higher education takes many forms such as cross boarder movement of students and staff, research collaboration and joint degrees offered, internationalisation is threatened.”

She quoted from the provocative statements made recently by Philip Altbach and Hans de Wit who sited that Trumpism, Brexit and the rise of nationalist and anti-immigration policies in Europe is changing the landscape of global higher education, and that this fundamental shift in internationalisation means a re-thinking of the entire international project of universities world- wide is necessary.

Even though higher education takes many forms such as cross boarder movement of students and staff, research collaboration and joint degrees offered, internationalisation is threatened.

“Thankfully they do acknowledge that knowledge remains international and cross-national collaboration continues to increase. But a long side this they outline some challenges. They note an increase in problems pertaining to visas and an unwelcoming atmosphere for international students and staff across the UK and US. We are not immune to this in South Africa. We see visa delays of students and staff across the continent, and spites of Xenophobia.”

“There is an increasing disquiet about the dominance of English as the main language of scientific communication and scholarship – coming from the Netherlands, arguably one of the most internationally minded countries in the world, and in other countries, including Germany and Denmark, there is also debate about the negative impact of English on the quality of teaching.

There is an increasing disquiet about the dominance of English as the main language of scientific communication and scholarship.

She said another trend they highlighted concerns transnational education. A branch campus being established by the University of Groningen from the Netherlands, in Yantai, Shandong province in China, with China Agricultural University was suddenly cancelled by the university after protests by faculty and students due to possible limitations on academic freedom in China and lack of local consultation about the project.

“Chinese student groups in Australia and the Chinese government have been accused of trying to limit criticism of China and disrupt academic freedom. There has also been criticism, in Australia and elsewhere, of Chinese-funded Confucius Institutes for seeking to influence universities.”

In addition, she says, free intuition might also come to an end with Norway increasing visa fees for international students and critics claim that this might be a first step towards charging fees to international students. Two German states also have started to introduce fees for international students, a drastic break with the past.

“Altbach and De Witt acknowledge that although increasingly powerful political, economic and academic challenges poses a threat to the internationalisation process in Europe and North America, the non-Western world shows an increasing interest in internationalisation, even if there are some problems. China is becoming in many aspects academically closed, and India lacks relevant infrastructure, struggling to shape its academic structures to host large numbers of international students. South Africa and Brazil face serious political and economic instability that negatively affects the international focus that they had expanded over the past decade.”

Badsha concurred by adding that anecdotally fewer international students consider South Africa as an education provider post the student uprisings of 2015 and 2016.

“All these realities along with the growing threads of climate changes, and pandemic such as the Coronavirus, requires a serious re-thinking of our internationalisation approaches strategies, and the University of Stellenbosch Business School has an important leadership role to play in the discussion.”

The University of Stellenbosch Business School has an important leadership role to play in the [internationalisation] discussion.

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Land reform: is there a right and a wrong?

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Land reform: is there a right and a wrong?

  • FEB 20
  • Tags Land Reform, Ethics, Conflict Resolution

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Whilst South Africans have until the end of February to share their comment on the draft national policy for beneficiary selection and land allocation, Prof Brian Ganson, Head of the Africa Centre for Dispute Settlement at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) argues that “the land reform debate largely remains a dialogue of the deaf. Many spend their energy shouting about how they are right and others are wrong.”

Prof Ganson proposes that conflict resolution and problem-solving skills of perspective-taking and bridging principles – proven in other long-entrenched conflicts – be applied in South Africa to shift heated public debate beyond opposing, one-sided arguments to “move the conversation forward and engender real problem solving”.

The land reform debate largely remains a dialogue of the deaf. Many spend their energy shouting about how they are right and others are wrong.

He says land reform in South Africa is critically important in its own right: an unfinished promise to redress epic historic wrongs on the one hand, and on the other, a project that could easily have unintended negative social and economic consequences – in particular for the poor black South Africans it is most needed to serve – if poorly managed.

“How we all go about land reform is also a bellwether of our ability to engage around the construction of the just, democratic, and united South Africa envisioned by the Constitution,” he said.

Prof Ganson said research had shown that a key skill of people who help find solutions to exceptionally entrenched conflicts is perspective-taking: the capacity to view the world – even if temporarily – through the lens of other people’s fears, hopes, rights, and interests.

“If we want a satisfying meal of positive progress – rather than just the thin gruel of self-righteous indignation that all sides of the land debate seem to be enjoying – a starting point might therefore be to acknowledge where others are right,” he said.

He invited those who react strongly against the phrase, “give back the land”, to consider how there may be nothing remotely radical about such a demand – the principle is already contained in the Constitution.

If we want a satisfying meal of positive progress… a starting point might therefore be to acknowledge where others are right.

“The current Constitution – never mind any amendments under consideration – promises restitution to people and communities dispossessed of property as a result of racially discriminatory laws or practices going back to 1913. It gives Government broad latitude to carry this out. Any other proposed solution can and should be measured against ‘giving back the land’ to those who have legitimate expectations that it be returned.”

Prof Ganson urged recognition that the mixing of questions on the principles of restitution of land with those of whether and how people to whom land is returned would put it to productive use, “must be hurtful and angering in the extreme” to former black landholders and their descendants.

It reeks of the argument in favour of the Natives Land Act of 1913 by the President of the Chamber of Mines, who opined that it would end ‘the surplus of young men … squatting on the land in idleness’ – but in fact provided low wage workers for the mines as it destroyed families and communities for generations to come.”

Prof Ganson suggests that, “In relation to those currently holding land that may be returned in the name of restitution under the provisions of the Constitution, we can concede that many of the issues they raise – even if immaterial to the fundamental right of dispossessed people and communities to land – are real.”

He suggests that it need not be in contention that it would indeed be better for all South Africans if land reform is managed in a way that confronts the realities of the substantial bonds on many properties, minimises corruption, maximises food security, and improves the possibilities for people either to make their livelihoods from the land or to make their transition to urban life, each according to his or her choice.

He believes that such perspective-taking might in the first instance invite parties to let go of one-sided arguments that serve to raise hackles rather than engender any real problem solving.

“Putting tongue in cheek for a moment, the current owners of large plots in Bishopscourt and Sandhurst, or Plettenberg Bay and Umhlanga, might agree that the person to whom land is returned is entitled to do anything with it, or nothing at all – lest universal application of standards of idleness or lack of productive use put their own tenure in question.”

“Others might begin to realise that ‘expropriation without compensation’ is a wonderful rallying cry in the international press but fairly empty here at home. Property returned to its rightful owner is hardly being expropriated; and thus, the fundamental question that cannot be bypassed is not one of compensation, but one of just and rightful ownership consistent with the mandates of the Constitution for restoration and transformation.”

Others might begin to realise that ‘expropriation without compensation’ is a wonderful rallying cry in the international press but fairly empty here at home.

He argued that those who currently weaponise the concept of ‘give back the land’ to exclude any discussion at all might admit that the phrase might usefully be continued: ‘… in ways that protect the poor and vulnerable from corrupt officials, dishonest businesses, and an economic system that makes it difficult for the person to whom land is returned to benefit from it or even keep it’.

He says that such perspective thinking might therefore remind each and all of us of our responsibilities.

“As neither land claimants nor substantial landholders under threat, we may be happy to sit on the side lines of the land reform debate when in fact we are in a privileged position to help move the conversation forward. We can do so with another skill of exceptional problem solvers: that of constructing bridging principles, or the power of AND.”

He argues that at every available juncture, “we can be impatient with the failure to implement the land reform envisioned by our Constitution – AND be advocates for land reform that addresses the broadest possible array of social and economic interests.”

“We can insist that the interests of the poor, vulnerable, and dispossessed in land restitution and land distribution be put first – AND readily agree that we must have answers for those whose lives and businesses will be inevitably be disrupted.”

As neither land claimants nor substantial landholders under threat, we may be happy to sit on the side lines of the land reform debate when in fact we are in a privileged position to help move the conversation forward.

“We can state that no one should be asked to compromise their rights, values, or dreams around land reform or any other issue in a constitutional democracy – AND point out that endless posturing without reference to Constitutional principles or viable and just solutions is making the situation worse rather than better.”

He says that such perspective-taking and bridging principles had proven in other conflicts to provide a starting point for transforming hearts, minds, and civic discourse. “No less is required to move forward land reform, and the country.”

South Africans can comment on the draft policy released by the Government’s Rural Development and Land Reform Department until the end of February by sending an email to Bsla@drdlr.gov.za

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The SONA speech that President Ramaphosa will most probably not, but should be making

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The SONA speech that President Ramaphosa will most probably not, but should be making

  • JAN 30
  • Tags SONA, USB Director, National Government, South Africa

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By USB Director and Professor, Prof Piet Naudé

Fellow South Africans

The annual State of the Nation address is an opportunity for me and my government to report back on previous commitments and set out our task for the coming 12 months.

Many of you have – quite rightly – become impatient at the slow pace of progress made on our promises of a ‘new dawn’. After serious introspection, I’ve realised that to resolve the many crises facing us – record unemployment, mismanaged and corrupt SOEs, collapsing municipalities acting with impunity, a failing education system for most of our scholars, and epidemic violence against women and children – require a different style of leadership. I am a consensus seeker. I like to let all around the table feel like winners after our negotiations.

This leadership was good for the transition to democracy in 1994 and for the constitution-writing process thereafter. But I’ve also realised that the very nature of a ‘crisis’ is that it requires immediate and effective action.

I am reminded of the fact that former President (of South Africa) FW de Klerk – present here tonight – did not consult his party and try and reach unity on the radical decision of 2 February 1990 to unban organisations and set political prisoners free. He acted by his conscience and risked the unity of his party for the sake of the greater good of all South Africans.

I therefore announce tonight that I am indeed the President of the Republic and the time has come to take decisive actions despite disunity on many matters in my own party and amongst alliance partners.

A wounded and dying patient needs urgent surgery. The pain inflicted in the short term by the sole decision-making surgeon, working in a trusted team, is the only chance for a longer term return to health.

It is now time to act.

  • Our public service at all three levels of government is bloated, inefficient and in some cases incompetent. Using international benchmarks appropriate for emerging economies, we will – with rare exceptions – immediately freeze the filling of vacancies and through a variety of measures (including reskilling for small enterprises) reduce the public sector wage bill with 8% per year over the next three years.
  • There are more than 750 enterprises owned and managed by the state. We have drawn up strict criteria for retention of sole state ownership. The most important question is whether an enterprise provides an essential public service and is able to stand on its own feet financially. Those that fall outside this narrow scope – including SAA, SA Express and Denel – will be disposed of in a rational manner and might include a minority state ownership where it makes financial sense (like with Telkom). We will – as the law stipulates – not interfere with business rescue decisions and will allow due process to run its course.
  • Eskom is a special case as it does provide an essential public and economic service. We all know the risk it currently poses to our entire economy. We have reached the end of bail-outs.

Five interventions will now start:

  1. To diminish overhead cost, a rational staff reduction process within the ambit of the law will bring staff numbers and remuneration within norms for a company of this nature and size within 24 months.
  2. Proposals for sustainable energy projects – in line with our Paris Agreement commitment – will open next month with additional electricity capacity added to the grid within 15 months.
  3. The unbundling process as announced will be accelerated and equity partners will be sought for the generation unit.
  4. A broad agreement between business, labor and government will be signed next month to deal with Eskom’s debt in a decisive and sustainable manner. It will require extraordinary once-off actions which the Minister of Finance will explain in his budget speech.
  5. Non-payment of electricity will be dealt with decisively. I warn many middle class township citizens, state departments, and municipalities that the culture of free-riding is over. There will be two forms of load shedding in future: Those necessitated by capacity constraints and those invited by non-payment.

I therefore announce that the Zondo Commission will cease to work in its current form. It will be replaced by a Truth and Re-compensation Commission over the next two years.

  • The scope and depth of state and corporate capture emanating from various commissions and reaching headlines on a daily basis are beyond normal legal pursuit and prosecution. I therefore announce that the Zondo Commission will cease to work in its current form. It will be replaced by a Truth and Re-compensation Commission over the next two years. All persons involved in corruption since 27 April 1994 are invited to come and make a full disclosure of their misdeeds with an agreement to repay whatever amount is possible. They will then receive amnesty. Those who hide or do partial disclosures will be liable for prosecution under existing law. All legal processes related to corruption that are currently under way, will continue as normal and are excluded from the new TRC.
  • My government is committed to a deeper and more efficient land reform programme. The constitutional amendment will continue, but any suggestion that decisions about compensation due to expropriation be taken by a political office bearer, will not be supported. We must respect the rule of law and we must start the land reform process with granting of title deeds to those living on state land; and by accelerating state land allocation for urban areas. I state this clearly: We do not foresee expropriation of active industrial areas or productive agricultural land and are encouraged by the growing cooperation and joint ownership between commercial and small-scale farmers.
  • Our economy is not growing fast enough and our tax revenue falls short of set targets. To get us over the fiscal cliff we face, we have agreed with listed companies that government will raise a tax on JSE share transactions. This revenue will be paid into a separate treasury account and only be used for capital projects and job creation executed in a public – private – partnership. This will increase accountability and efficiency and business will see where their money goes.

We must respect the rule of law and we must start the land reform process with granting of title deeds to those living on state land; and by accelerating state land allocation for urban areas.

These are some of the actions we plan. There will be resistance. But I have a duty to lead according to my conscience and for the sake of all South Africans.

Let us take hands. Tuna mina!

Your public servant,

Cyril Ramaphosa

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New decade, new developments

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New decade, new developments

  • JAN 30
  • Tags 2020, USB Academic Staff, Appointments

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With the dawn of the 20s comes new staff appointments at USB

2020 has begun promisingly for the academic workforce at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB). Following a formal interviewing process, several existing part-time academic staff members have been appointed in permanent positions as from 1 January this year.

Dr Nthabiseng Moleko, who recently became the first woman in South Africa to receive a PhD in Development Finance, was initially appointed as a full time lecturer, is now a senior lecturer at the business school. She explains the massive role her faith has played in her success, and also attributes much of her achievements to the support of her family.

“In 2006, God opened the doors for me to begin my MPhil in Development Finance. I could finally pursue answers to my questions of how we can use finance for development. It has been a journey of faith, even upon my return a decade later to embark on my doctorate. The support of my family and the guidance and love of my parents have been pivotal in reaching this achievement,” says Dr Moleko.

A true believer in a sustainable future for Africa, Dr Moleko is committed to moving the continent forward. “I will continue to strive to make South Africa and Africa an oasis of hope and land of fruitfulness, and will also encourage and enable those whom I teach to do the same,” she says.

Prof Renata Schoeman, psychiatrist and champion of the cause to raise awareness for ADHD, was appointed as Associate Professor at the business school. She reflects on how it all began.

“My USB journey started in 2013 as an MBA student, not knowing that my research project, under supervision of Prof Manie de Klerk, would eventually pave the way for being his successor as the head of the MBA Healthcare Leadership (HCL) stream,” says Prof Schoeman.

Today, she works to build on her achievements to help the university prosper and create benefit for others. “I trust that the two decades I’ve spent in the public and private healthcare arenas will help me take the HCL stream to an internationally recognised program that creates value for all students and stakeholders. I look forward to continuing my journey and expanding on my portfolio at USB,” she says.

Prof Brian Ganson is the Head of the Africa Centre for Dispute Settlement and an expert in socio-political risk management. He recently achieved full status as a Professor at USB. While this is undoubtedly an outstanding individual accomplishment, Prof Ganson is focused on how his appointment can benefit greater society.

“I see this appointment less as a recognition of me personally than of the pressing need to acknowledge, understand, and address the deep divisions that hold us back as individuals and societies, in the economic sphere and beyond. I’m proud to be part of a University investing in the imagination and implementation of new collaborative possibilities for Africa,” says Prof Ganson.

A special mention among these appointments includes Senior Lecturer Jako Volschenk, who has been appointed as the new MBA Head of Programme, replacing Dr Martin Butler. He highlights the hard work of his colleagues and affirms his ongoing commitment to achieving USB’s mission.

“USB’s Full-time MBA has been voted the best in Africa, and I believe this is true for the entire MBA programme. I also believe that USB is a leader in creating MBA students that become stewards of society through leadership. This did not happen by chance, and I would like to acknowledge the hard work of the entire USB team. I feel very honoured to head up the MBA programme and to continue to increase the USB’s reach and impact,” says Volschenk.

Previously a postdoctoral fellow at USB, Dr Armand Bam has now received a full-time appointment as the Head of Social Impact, and as Senior Lecturer in Business in Society at the business school. Dr Bam is also a member of MANCO and is responsible for leading USB’s social impact (SI) philosophy and strategy whilst overseeing the execution of the SI processes, programmes and projects.

Dr Bam’s longstanding relationship with Stellenbosch University and his affinity for working in the non-profit sector were key factors leading to his appointment at USB. “The opportunity to advance USB’s social impact attracted me to this challenge and I am looking forward to adding value where I can. My connection to [Stellenbosch University] stems back to 1995 when I started my undergraduate studies in human movement science. 25 years later, after service in the non-profit sector, I return to lead such a critical aspect of what we as a business school stand for, and hope to further shape the culture of social impact at USB,” says Dr Bam.

Prof Euan Phimister from Aberdeen Business School in Scotland, who is yet to embark on his journey at USB, will join the university on 1 June 2020 as Professor in Development Finance. His expertise lies in agricultural development economics. He is currently engaged in a significant research project on the African continent.

USB Director, Prof Piet Naudé, is optimistic about the new appointments and the value they will add at USB. “I look forward to the continued contribution of the new academic staff members to the intellectual and social impact work at USB, as well as to the more general context of Stellenbosch University,” says Prof Naudé.

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Global re-accreditation for quality of University of Stellenbosch Business School’s programmes

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Global re-accreditation for quality of University of Stellenbosch Business School’s programmes

  • Dec 13
  • Tags Accreditation; EQUIS; European Foundation for Management Development; Association of Advanced Collegiate Schools of Business (ACCSB); Association of MBAs (AMBA)

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The University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) has achieved the prestigious global re-accreditation EQUIS from the Belgian-based European Foundation for Management Development.

The accreditation is for five years, the highest term awarded, and this together with the re-accreditation achieved earlier this year from the USA-based Association of Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (ACCSB) and the UK-based Association of MBAs (AMBA), puts the school in the company of some 86 schools worldwide with the Triple Crown of international accreditations.

Prof Piet Naudé, Director of USB, says this re-accreditation reinforces the University’s vision of being Africa’s leading research-intensive university, globally recognised as excellent.

“EQUIS is a very significant international recognition of the quality of work done by USB, USB-ED and the Institute for Futures Research.

The fact that only three African-based business schools enjoy this accreditation and that USB is the only one with a full-term recognition, is the single most important indicator of USB’s international standing.

“Unlike rankings that operate on a narrow set of specific criteria, the EQUIS accreditation system evaluates the full spectrum of a school’s activities against global best practices. We are delighted and will use this recognition to continue our work to create business value for a better world.”

The accreditation agencies review business schools and their programmes from different angles.  EQUIS assesses business schools as a whole, including their programmes, internationalisation activities, research, corporate connections and social engagement.

The AACSB emphasises continuous quality improvement in business education across three dimensions: engagement, innovation and impact. AMBA’s accreditation criteria focus on every aspect of MBA provision, including the institution, faculty, curriculum and assessments.


A message from USB Director, Prof Piet Naudé

I am pleased and grateful to inform you that the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) Council, convening in Brussels on 10 December, has re-accredited USB for a full five year term in terms of the EQUIS standards that cover all aspects of our School.

This successfully completes the “triple crown” re-accreditation cycle on my watch as Director and USB therefore remains a member of the exclusive group of less than 90 business schools around the world with this level of peer recognition.

I record my sincere gratitude to the staff in the USB cluster, the support from the University of Stellenbosch leadership, the commitment of our Advisory Board, and the endorsement from alumni and business associates.

Applications for USB’s triple accredited MBA programme for 2020 closes 10 January 2020. Apply today!

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