About the Department

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Andrie Schoombee joined the Department in 1983 and became a professor in 1999. He received his undergraduate and honours degrees at the University of Pretoria and his MCom and PhD at Stellenbosch University.

Prof Schoombee's research concerned financial development. He originally concentrated on the role of the monetary control system in the development of formal financial markets, but his emphasis shifted to the availability of formal and informal financial services to the predominantly black population in South Africa. He has been chair of the Department since August 2000 and this has led his focus to shift to managing the Department.

Prof Estian Calitz, Director-General of the former Department of Finances of South Africa (now called the National Treasury) between 1993 and 1996, became the dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences in 2001 and, at the same time, professor in the Economics Department. He was appointed the Executive Director of Finance at the University of Stellenbosch on the 1st of January 2003, but this did not lead him to neglect his post in the Department. He lectured Public Economics on the postgraduatel level and also acted as thesis supervisor for postgraduate students. At the end of his five-year contract in the University's management, he returned full-time to the Department where he taught Macroeconomics and Public Economics to both undergraduate and postgraduate students until his retirement at the end of 2015. He still teaches a Master's Macroecomics module and has also been appointed a Research Associate in the Department.  

Prof Calitz has published widely in peer-reviewed journals and is also well-known for his co-authorship of the very successful Public Economics for South African Students, of which three issues have been printed at Oxford University Press.

Stan du Plessis joined the Department towards the end of 1999 and became a Professor in January 2006. He teaches macroeconomics and monetary economics, mainly to graduate students. His publications in South African and international academic journals include papers on monetary policy, business cycles, applied econometrics, law and economics, and competition policy. He also regularly contributes articles on economic issues for South Africa's financial press. Du Plessis is an editor of the South African Journal of Economics, a member of the Central Council of the Economic Society of South Africa, and past Treasurer and Secretary of the African Econometric Society. He has also served as President of the Economic Society of South Africa.

Stan du Plessis was involved part-time at the Bureau for Economic Research as Head of Research from 2010 to 2013. He was appointed Vice Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences in July 2011, Dean in February 2014 and Chief Operating Officer of Stellenbosch University from 1 January 2018 (he already moved to the office of the COO in January 2017 in a supporting capacity).

Rachel Jafta joined the department as lecturer in 1993 and was promoted to professor in 2011. Prof Jafta's research interests are in industrial economics, economics of innovation, international trade and Black Economic Empowerment. She holds a BEconHons from the University of the Western Cape, and a MEcon and PhD from Stellenbosch University. Her commitment to academic development and social change extends well beyond the university walls. She serves as a trustee for a number of the country's most renowned developmental initiatives, among them the Helen Suzman Foundation, the South African Institute of Race Relations and the Cape Town Carnival Trust, which she co-founded and is serving as the chairperson of the board of trustees.

Prof Jafta is the chairperson of the Rachel's Angels Trust which aims to prepare Grade 11 and 12 learners for the challenges they might face once they have matriculated. Learners from under-privileged communities are selected to be monitored by senior University of Stellenbosch students, who help them to develop stronger business acumen and real-world skills and prepare them for tertiary education.

Prof Jafta has been a director of Naspers since 2003, Media24 since 2007 and chairperson of Media24's board of directors since 2013.

Since 1970 the University introduced a new system of associate professorship. The system gave many lecturers the opportunity to be appointed as associate professor before accepting the post of a full professorship. Nevertheless, two of these associate professors at the Department were never promoted to being professors and deserve special recognition for their work. Contessa Dr Maria le Lange de Reville (1910-1978) was involved with the Department from 1952 until 1977 and appointed associate professor in 1975. Prof De Reville was of Flemish descent and, before the Second World War started, she studied at seven different universities on the European continent. Since she never studied in Britain or America, it could be said that her weltanchauung was fully continentally orientated, differing notably from the Anglo-American academic perspective.

Over the twenty-five years that Prof De Reville was associated with the Department, she developed a reputation for being a real character. Her way of speaking and use of idiomatic language was unique in her mostly Afrikaans-speaking environment, and often caused her students frustration and laughter.

Prof De Reville's main focus was on micro-economics. She taught the art of abstract, systematic and logic thought to the many students whom she lectured on theoretical economics.

Prof Fanie Cloete was another associate professor (appointed 1986), but died in 1988 at the early age of 42. He was a highly valued colleague for several reasons. Not only did he show great loyalty towards his Department and colleagues, but he also had the ability to lecture in any field of Economics on very short notice. His great knowledge and enthusiasm made him a well-loved lecturer with his students. His early death was an enormous loss for the Department. In memory of his life and excellence, the Department awards the best third year and postgraduate student every year with the Fanie Cloete Medal.

During the nineties a number of associate professors were attached to the Department for a short period of time: Yohane Khamfula (2006-2007), Malcolm Keswell (2007-2010) and Evan Gilbert (2008-2010). The latter has been appointed as associate professor extraordinary since taking up a position in the financial sector. Prof Gilbert contributes to the Department's academic activities in his field of specialisation, namely financial economics.

Currently the following staff members are associate professors: Pierre de Villiers (since 2010), Ronelle Burger (since 2012), Guangling Liu (since 2012), Neil Rankin (since 2013), Ada Jansen (since 2014), and since 2015 Wimpie Boshoff, Rulof Burger and Johan Fourie.  

To acknowledge only the contributions that the professors and associate professors have made to the history of the Stellenbosch Department of Economics would not be fair. The importance of the many lecturers and senior lecturers who have also been involved, cannot be overestimated. Professors of other disciplines who made a contribution to our Department that cannot be overlooked, are CGW Schumann and Faantjie Pretorius.

Some previous lecturers left for private or public practice and, through their success, have served as good ambassadors for the Department. In the forties, Dr Dawie Marais became an outstanding businessman after a few years in the Department. In the fifties, Dr Johan Jones and Dr Martin van den Berg left Stellenbosch; Dr Jones became Director-General of Finances in the former South-West Africa, while Dr Van den Berg became Minister of Finances in the government of Dr Lucas Mangope in the former Bophuthatswana.

During the 1960s and early 1970s, Raymond Parsons, Mike Truu, Charles Waite and Wolfgang Thomas were lecturers in the Department. Later on Parsons became the Executive Director of the South African Business Room and a professor at Wits University's Business School. He also served as President of Economics Society of South Africa. Truu accepted professorships at the Universities of Rhodes and Pretoria. Waite was appointed as a professor at the University of Port Elizabeth, and Thomas became the Deputy Director of Wesgro and was later appointed professor extraordinary at the University of Stellenbosch Business School.

During the 1970s Philip Mohr, Jac Laubscher, Frank Biggs, Elwil Beukes and Sterrenberg Pretorius were involved in the Department, although their paths later parted. Mohr went on to become professor in Economics at the University of South Africa, Laubscher became the chief economist of Sanlam and also professor extraordinary at the Department in January 2002. Biggs was a professor at a university college in the USA, while Beukes was a professor at the University of the Free State. Pretorius was employed in a senior post at the South African Reserve Bank.

During the eighties Johan Lötter, Henk Langenhoven, Pieter Laubscher, André Roux and Frans le Roux were lecturers in Economics. These days Lötter is professor in Economics at the University of South Africa, Langenhoven is chief economist at the Chamber of Mines, Laubscher is a consultant to the Bureau for Economic Research, and Roux is associate professor at the University of Stellenbosch Business School. Le Roux became Deputy Director-General in the National Treasury and has served as South Africa's representative at the IMF in Washington.

Department staff who lectured during the nineties included Andrew Smith, John Kruger, Hendrik du Toit, Corné van Walbeek, Nicola Theron and Betsy Stoltz. Smith later accepted a post in the Competitive Council of the Department of Trade and Industry, while Kruger took a senior post in the National Treasury. Du Toit is currently the chief executive officer of Investec Asset Management, Van Walbeek is professor of Economics at the University of Cape Town and Theron is the managing director of Econex (an economics consultancy company specialising in competition cases). Theron has also been appointed professor extraordinary in the Department since 2013 and teaches competition economics on the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Stoltz retired in the mid-nineties.

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BER Weekly

29 July 2019
Domestic financial markets were dominated by the reaction of credit rating agencies to Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's announcement that Eskom will receive an additional R59 billion (bn) bailout. This will be spread over the 2019/20 (R26bn) and 2020/21 (R33bn) fiscal years. Combined with the R23bn per annum committed to Eskom in the February budget,...

Read the full issue

BER Weekly

29 July 2019
Domestic financial markets were dominated by the reaction of credit rating agencies to Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's announcement that Eskom will receive an additional R59 billion (bn) bailout. This will be spread over the 2019/20 (R26bn) and 2020/21 (R33bn) fiscal years. Combined with the R23bn per annum committed to Eskom in the February budget,...

Read the full issue