Public Engagement

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If you have further questions about public engagement, please do not hesitate to contact us

 
The SARB has broadened its efforts to reach the wider public across all provinces, reaching over 8 200 people through its outreach programmes alone. 

In line with its increased commitment to transparency and accountability, the SARB has also enhanced the quality of engagements with stakeholders across all sectors. These engagements confirm the need for a richer conversation on the role of the SARB and, more importantly, to better understand the concerns of stakeholders.

 

Education programmes

The SARB’s social investment focuses on education, with the aim to:

  • develop human capital in the fields of monetary policy and financial stability;
  • improve the quality of economics and financial journalism in South Africa and on the continent; and
  • expand the understanding of monetary policy at high school level.

 

2019 MPC Schools Challenge Winners: Midrand High School

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) was piloted with 70 schools in Gauteng in 2012 and has grown sustainably since then, reaching over 3 000 learners in over 400 schools every year.

The competition’s briefing session is delivered by SARB economists, some of whom are past beneficiaries of the Challenge and were awarded bursaries from the SARB that led to them joining the organisation.

The Challenge starts with groups of four Grade 12 Economics and Accounting learners from each school writing an essay on monetary policy. Following an audited adjudication process, teams are shortlisted for a second round in which they role-play an MPC meeting and provide a reason for their decision on interest rates. They have to contextualise the global and domestic economic situation and the reason for their decision based on relevant economic data and information. The learners then present their decision and supporting arguments to a panel in a format that mirrors the actual MPC press conference, which the Governor hosts every second month.

In 2019, more than 190 of the 354 participating schools submitted final essays and qualified for the competition, with Midrand High School being the overall winner. The competition helps to raise awareness of the policy decision-making process and increase the level of interest among school learners in pursuing economics as a career path.

The MPC Schools Challenge aims to promote interest and deepen an understanding of the SARB’s mandate among high school learners.

To participate:

Email: sarb-mpcchallenge@resbank.co.za
Phone: +27 12 313 4312 or +27 12 313 3526
Mail:




 
Monetary Policy Committee Schools Challenge
Executive Management Department​
South African Reserve Bank​
370 Helen Joseph Street​
Pretoria
0002

 

To help teams develop their MPC statement, we have collated data on inflation, the economy and forecasting:

 
How to enter the challenge

The rules for all participating teams are as follows:

  • Team members must attend a public school (public or governing body-funded public school).
  • The school must offer Economics and Mathematics as subjects.
  • Only one team per school, comprising a Governor and three Deputy Governors, can enter.
  • All team members must be enrolled for Grade 12 with Economics and Mathematics as subjects.
  • All team members must be full-time learners at the school which they represent.
  • Finalists should be accompanied by their Economics teacher to the finals in Pretoria.
  • Other students at a participating school can help the team to research and prepare the MPC statement, but only the registered team members can present at the finals.
  • Teams are allowed to use data from any source, not just the SARB, but all information obtained from other sources must be clearly referenced.
  • Teams must base their decision on data that pertains to the forecasting period of the challenge set by the SARB.
  • Team members cannot be changed during the competition without prior approval by the SARB.
  • All team members must be present at the finals and be available to answer questions following the team presentation. This requirement will only be waived in exceptional circumstances and with prior agreement by the SARB.
  • SARB employees and their relatives are not allowed to participate in the challenge.
  • Foreign students or students with dual citizenship are not allowed to participate in the challenge.
  • All essays will go through plagiarism detection service Turnitin. Anything above 30% will lead to the disqualification of the school.
  • Essays may be typed or handwritten; handwritten essays must be clear and legible.

Entry form

 

     Prize (per learner) Prize (per school)
1 R12 000 plus computer R25 000*
2 R9 000 R16 000
3 R7 000 R12 000
4 R6 000 R9 000
5 R4 000 R7 000
6 R3 000 R6 000
7 R1 500 R3 000

* The teacher from the winning school receives a computer.

Only the finalist teams receive certificates.

These prizes are subject to change without prior notice and at the sole discretion of the SARB.

 

In the first round of the MPC Schools Challenge, judges from the SARB and the Department of Basic Education assess each team’s MPC statement.

If chosen as a finalist, the team advances to the second round of the challenge. This is the presentation round, where judges evaluate teams’ presentation of their statement as well as their ability to reason through questions related to monetary policy.

In both rounds, judges will be looking for an:

  • understanding of economics and the South African economy;
  • understanding of monetary policy in South Africa; and
  • ability to clearly articulate thoughts and ideas.

Tip for drafting your MPC statement

The SARB suggests that teams draw up questions they want to answer in their statement, and then make sure they address them systematically. Example questions include:

  • Is the economy slowing down or speeding up?
  • What areas of demand are strong or weak?
  • What is the outlook for demand?
  • What is happening in the world economy?
  • In which direction does employment appear to be moving?
  • How close is the economy to operating at full capacity?
  • Are wage pressures and other costs rising or falling?
  • How has the exchange rate changed?
  • Is the current rate of inflation likely to rise or fall?

 

Compiling the MPC statement gives teams the opportunity to assess current and expected future economic conditions, and to reach a decision on the repurchase (repo) rate.

When reviewing the MPC statements received from schools, judges will be looking for:

  • A logically written report. Teams must structure their report in a way that best enhances their argument. They are encouraged to assess a range of indicators and consider important issues from both sides, but all teams must be sure the judges can see why they came to their repo rate decision.
  • Their ability to explain why they think things have happened/are going to happen. As such, teams need to back up their arguments with relevant information and data.
  • A wide range of sources for their information (e.g. newspapers, private banks, and other public sector organisations). However, teams need to make sure that they correctly reference these sources. It is likely that SARB staff will have seen this information and so will recognise it as someone else’s argument. Failure to acknowledge other people’s work and/or to pass it off as your own is plagiarism.
  • A well-presented document, with correct spelling and grammar, which keeps to the 1 000 word limit.

The judges will not give marks for correctly ‘guessing’ what the SARB’s next interest rate move will actually be. Rather, they will be interested in how teams justify their decision.

Finalist teams should not change their decision for the oral presentation if the SARB has since made a different decision to that which the team suggested in their MPC statement.

As part of its effort to address skills shortages in South Africa, the SARB provides bursaries in relevant fields of study to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Each year, external bursaries are made available to qualifying Grade 12 learners to embark on full-time study.

The SARB runs its employee volunteerism activities throughout the year, but also has one day – the Saturday before or after 18 July, Mandela Day – on which staff can collectively participate in these programmes. A Saturday was chosen because participation requires staff to volunteer their own time to give back to society. It thus builds on the spirit of Mandela Day, which Mandela intended to be an opportunity for South Africans to create a culture of volunteerism.

In 2020, the SARB's physical participation was hampered by COVID-19, although it continued to support its identified programmes.

In 2019 and previous years, a large group of central bankers replaced their Saturday attire with overalls and hard hats to do some tiling, cleaning, gardening, painting and even installing of recreational area equipment in schools for the disabled in Soweto, Mamelodi, Gugulethu and Chatsworth. Some plumbing and electrical work was also done. The Governor led the pack of volunteers, joined by their family members and friends, for a day of hard work and physical activity. 

University of Pretoria Chair of Monetary Economics

For over a decade, the SARB has sponsored the Chair of Monetary Economics at the University of Pretoria. The support and funding provided to this Chair help develop skills in the field of monetary policy economics. The programme supports students studying for their Honours (Hons), Master of Commerce or Master of Philosophy degrees as well as Doctorates (PhD).

 

SARB Centre for Economic Journalism at Rhodes University

The SARB sponsors the SARB Centre for Economic Journalism at Rhodes University (Chair for Economic and Financial Journalism) to help improve the quality of economic and financial journalism in South Africa and Africa. The centre offers postgraduate diplomas in Economic Journalism and Journalism (PGDip Economic Journalism), Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Economic Journalism, a Masters degree in Journalism and a PhD in Economic Journalism.

 

University of the Witwatersrand Journalism Programme

The SARB sponsors the University of the Witwatersrand Journalism Programme, providing support and funding for postgraduate training and qualifications in Financial Journalism. The programme enables aspirant financial journalists to improve their working knowledge of economics and finance.

 

Research Chair in Financial Stability Studies at the University of Cape Town

The SARB sponsors the Research Chair in Financial Stability Studies at the University of Cape Town to promote studies within a field that carries the supplementary mandate of the SARB. Funding supports Master’s and PhD students’ research on managing regulatory complexity, financial interconnectedness, computational models, and the regulation of blockchain technologies and cryptoassets. 

Art collection

The SARB’s art collection is generally regarded as one of the premier corporate collections in the country, with its outstanding strength being landscape art produced between 1900 and 1970. The collection contains a number of historically important works as well as works by contemporary artists.

The collection has its origins in artworks that were accumulated and intended for display in hotels attached to the railway stations in Cape Town and Pretoria. When the state abandoned these hotel plans, the 146 artworks were put up for sale at two much-anticipated auctions in 1954 and 1955.

In the ensuing years, the SARB’s collection has grown to over 700 artworks, which are displayed at the SARB's Head Office and its cash centres in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

 

Motswai, Thomas Trevor (Tommy) (b.1963) Happy Dance of Marriage 1990

Nhlengethwa, Sam (b. 1955) Working for You 1996 Mixed media collage on paper

In 1991 the SARB produced the first art book of the collection’s holdings. The second book of the collection appeared in 2007 and is available for download.

 

The Art of Central Banking, has its origins in a book written by Ralph G Hawtrey that was published in 1932. The title refers to an expression that central bankers all over the world remember and frequently use when considering monetary and other policy decisions in an uncertain economic environment.

In publishing a second book on its art collection, the SARB introduced a different meaning to the 'art of central banking'. The book provides a glimpse of the SARB’s extensive art collection, which was assembled over many years, and bears testimony to the SARB’s commitment to preserve and promote South Africa’s cultural and artistic heritage and invest in the future. Since the purchase of the first artworks in 1954, the collection has grown into one of the major corporate art collections in South Africa.

The SARB’s collection comprises more than 600 artworks, ranging from paintings and sculptures to tapestries and works on paper, and it remains the SARB's policy to add to the collection each year. The artists represented in the collection read like a who’s who of established and emerging South African artists.

The collection is eclectic, representing the diversity of South African cultures and tastes. This made it a challenge to organise the works around a single theme to constitute a cohesive story for the purpose of this book.

Rather than being confined to a museum or single exhibition area, the collection is displayed in offices and other public areas in the SARB’s buildings around the country. This allows staff to enjoy the collection but makes it difficult for the SARB to entertain requests from interested parties to visit and view the collection.