Inyathelo in the Headlines

Panel discussion - 18 May 2017 -

19 May 11:30 - 13:30 - Johannesburg
President Place, Rosebank

Democracy Works Foundation in partnership with The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and Inyathelo invites you to a discussion on, The Impact of Junk Status on citizens in South Africa and Southern Africa.

The recent political developments in South Africa coupled with a precarious and volatile labour market has resulted in the downgrading of the South African economy to junk status by two of the major international rating agencies, with the probability of the third – Moodys – making a similar call over the next few months. While there has been much debate on the effects of this downgrade on the South African economy, its effect on the Rand, the ideologies behind having western rating agencies make these calls as well as South Africa’s place and space in an increasing globalised world, these debates and conversations have not really focussed on the effects of the downgrade on citizens, most notably the poor, vulnerable and marginalised.

Within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), South Africa shares a common monetary area with Swaziland, Lesotho and Namibia. In addition, on an informal level, the rand is used and traded as currency in a number of other SADC countries including Mozambique and Zimbabwe. While junk status may be seen by many as just an investment downgrade, the linkages to the currency and economy cannot be dismissed. Hence the impact on the rest of the SADC region, if any, especially given that most of these countries are still suffering the effects of the global financial crisis, political upheavals, and challenges in growth, cannot be ignored.


Moeletsi Mbeki (is a political economist and the deputy chairman of the South African Institute of International Affairs, an independent think tank based at the University of the Witwatersrand, and is a political analyst for Nedcor Bank. He is a member of the executive council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) which is based in London. Mbeki has a strong background in journalism, with a resume that includes a Harvard University Nieman Fellowship and time at the BBC. He often acts as a political commentator in South Africa, and is the author of a paper titled Perpetuating Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa and has written articles for the Cato Institute, a USA-based libertarian think tank. With his book “Architects of Poverty: Why African Capitalism Needs Changing” in 2009 he has triggered a debate about governance, ethics and moral values in African governance processes.

Jessica Rees-Jones is the Executive Director of INYATHELO and has over 10 years’ experience in Non Profit Management, Fundraising and Development, which includes working as a specialist consultant to the Graca Machel Trust and Cennergi; CEO of the Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN Foundation); Director & Director of Advancement for Bishops and also as the Development Director for Vista Nova School for children with special needs. Jessica is passionate about the growth and development of the civil society sector. She is also an active member of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce. INYATHELO specifically works on assisting in the building of a strong, stable civil society in South Africa by contributing to the development of sustainable organisations and institutions.

Dr Thanti Mthanti redefined entrepreneurship as a positive predictor of growth and debt sustainability. Besides his academic work, he has negotiated and dealt with senior leaders in both business and government. Dr Thanti Mthanti is a senior lecturer in finance at Wits Business School. He teaches financial risk and asset management in the Masters in Finance and Investment programme. Mthanti holds a PhD (Finance) from Wits Business School (WBS) and the Professional Risk Manager (PRM) Charter from PRMIA. Mthanti’s research interests are mainly in development economics and risk management, with a particular focus on Africa. In his PhD, Mthanti redefined and recalibrated entrepreneurship and confirmed it as a positive predictor of growth and debt sustainability. This may have particular significance for Africa with its developmental challenges. Besides Mthanti’s academic work, he also has extensive business and leadership experience. In these positions, Mthanti has negotiated and dealt with senior leaders in both business and government.

Deprose Muchena is the Regional Director for Southern Africa at Amnesty International where he plays a strategic leadership role as its chief executive officer, leader and key spokesperson on all aspects of human rights strategy, growth, development and communication. He was previously the Deputy Director at the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), worked at Senior Governance Advisor at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Zimbabwe as well as the Council of Churches (ZCC).

Moderator: Busi Dlamini is a Director at Democracy Works Foundation and an independent consultant specialising in facilitation and training services. A former director of Dignity International, Dlamini now works closely with social innovators and has led groundbreaking research into complex social issues using systems thinking methodology.

Venue: OSISA Boardroom, Ground floor, President Place, 1 Hood Ave, Rosebank, Johannesburg.

Please RSVP This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before Tuesday, 16 May 2017.

View the original article on the AllEvents website.