About the Department

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Prof Sadie served on a large number of commissions and councils and acted as advisor to several South African and foreign institutions and governments. His most important involvements were as advisor to the Tomlinson (1954-1955) and Franzsen (1968-1969) Commissions. The former evaluated the socio-economic development of the Bantu-homelands while the latter evaluated fiscal and monetary policy in South Africa. After the Tomlinson Report was published, Prof Sadie was recognised, together with professors N Olivier and SP Cilliers, as one of the "visionary" members of the South African Bureau for Racial Affairs (SABRA). The political views of these members caused friction between themselves and Dr Verwoerd, since they wanted him to drastically revise the government's policy with respect to Black Urbanisation and were upset with his interpretation of the Tomlinson Report. For a long time thereafter these "visionary" people were seen as persona non grata in government circles.

In addition to being a professor in Economics, Prof Sadie was also the director of the Bureau for Economic Research at the University between 1973 and 1983. During this period he published monographs and some 150 articles in academic journals.

Because of the increase in student numbers that took place at the University, a second professorship was granted to the Department of Economics in 1968, and Sampie Terreblanche was promoted to fill the new post. At the time the staff complement consisted of only four people, who had to duplicate all the undergraduate lectures presented at Stellenbosch at the Bellville Business School. The result of this arrangement was that Prof Terreblanche was required to give lectures in almost all fields of Economics between 1965 and 1975. As time passed, he was allowed to focus on his personal fields of interest, which were General History of Economics, History of Economic Thought and Modern Economic Systems.

Prof Terreblanche never really saw himself as a research professor, but rather as a lecturing one. Because of the relatively large volume of lectures that he presented to large classes, he received the dubious distinction of probably having more total "student points" (calculated as the amount of lectures given multiplied by the number of students present in every lecture) over the course of his term as lecturer and professor than any other lecturer in the history of the University. Roughly estimating, his student points should have reached one million if all students attended all of their lectures. Unfortunately a "leakage" of 150 000 to 200 000 points took place, and Prof Terreblanche stated that it was not in his power to solve the problem.

Many of the lectures given by Prof Terreblanche were controversial and therefore the Afrikaans students decided that the acronym SAMPIE could be applied to "Suid-Afrika se Mal Professor In Ekonomie" (South Africa's crazy Economics professor). Fortunately rumour also has it that a small group of students instead called him "Suid-Afrika se Meester Professor In Ekonomie" (South Africa's master Economics professor) .

Like all his professorial predecessors in Economics at Stellenbosch, Prof Terreblanche also got involved with processes of policy formulation. Between 1973 and 1976 he was a member of the Erika Theron Commission that investigated issues related to the coloured population of South Africa. From 1979 until 1985 he was a member the Prime Minister's Council for Economic Advice. Terreblanche's involvement in the Theron Commission triggered his interest in the nature and causes of poverty.

The collection of books that Prof Terreblanche has published comprise mainly textbooks for the History of Economics and History of Economic Thought. Also, besides about twenty articles in academic journals and several chapters in books, his strong involvement in party politics is reflected in the hundreds of articles that he has written for local and foreign newspapers on political and economic issues in South Africa. For such political involvement he has received a great deal of criticism. Since retiring at the end of 1995, he has concentrated on studying the political and economical history of South Africa while still working as a part-time lecturer in the Department until 2011. He received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Free State, Pretoria and Stellenbosch.

In 1976 the Department was granted a third professorship, and Prof Franzsen was granted his second term. After Prof Franzsen's retirement in April 1983, Colin McCarthy filled the vacancy to become the sixth professor of the Department.

Until he retired in 2004, Prof McCarthy acted as the (rotating) head of the Department on several occasions. At the time he collaborated with professors Ben Smit and Servaas van der Berg to re-organise the Department into a more effective and dynamic working-environment. In addition, he was responsible for the expansion of the Department's activities. A special Master's degree programme, lectured in English, was introduced during the nineties to accommodate black students from South Africa and other African countries. Prof McCarthy also led the planning of a modular MPhil degree in Economic Policy, for which the first students enrolled in January 2000. This degree was gradually phased out from 2010 onwards.

During his undergraduate and postgraduate lectures, Prof McCarthy concentrated on Macroeconomics, Monetary Economics, the Theory and Policy of International Trade and Development Economics. His research focused on the international policy of trade and industry with a focus on southern Africa. Within the broad field he gave special attention to regional integration issues, given the significant potential of regional integration to stimulate diversified development (especially industrial development) in southern Africa. He researched the role that South Africa, as the country with the largest economy in the region, needs to play through regional co-operation. Prof McCarthy interacted with a wide network of researchers in southern Africa and in Europe working on related issues to provide input for his own research.

Prof McCarthy was a member of a wide variety of organizations, national and international. The most important roles were his involvement in a Nairobian committee that compared the processes of development in Asia and Africa, and his membership of the World Trade Organisation's Dispute Settlement Body. Furthermore he acted as a consultant for several institutions, including the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the Urban Foundation, Wesgro and the World Bank (where he gave special attention to macro-economic aspects of poverty in Lesotho). He also served as a member, and chairman, of the Commission for Tariffs and Trade. By accepting these offers, he followed in the footsteps of Prof Grosskopf, who was permanently employed by the Department of Trade and Industry in 1935.

The research of Prof McCarthy has appeared not only in local and foreign academic journals, but also in the form of chapters in many books. Furthermore, he has been a speaker at a number of local and international conferences. Since his retirement, Prof McCarthy was involved at the Department on a part-time basis until 2012.

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BER Weekly

20 November 2017
Last week, retail and wholesale data was released for the domestic economy. The September growth figures completed the picture for the third quarter. In this regard, the growth in retail sales should support GDP growth in Q3, while a significant contraction in wholesale sales will have the opposite effect. Internationally, economic growth was reported...

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BER Weekly

20 November 2017
Last week, retail and wholesale data was released for the domestic economy. The September growth figures completed the picture for the third quarter. In this regard, the growth in retail sales should support GDP growth in Q3, while a significant contraction in wholesale sales will have the opposite effect. Internationally, economic growth was reported...

Read the full issue