Masters student takes the prize as Witsies dominate the final shortlist for the budget speech student competition in Cape Town

WITS MASTERS’ student Baneng Naape was the big winner at the Nedbank and Old Mutual Budget Speech Competition in Cape Town on Wednesday, February 20.

The MCom Economics student took home the cash prize of R150 000 for winning the postgraduate category for his essay titled ‘Disciplined Fiscal Policy: Does such exist in South Africa? Why not and what can be done?’

Bianca Fisher from the University of Johannesburg was runner-up, taking home R100 000 while another Witsie, Cayleigh Brink, came in third place, pocketing R50 000.

The winners were announced at the annual budget banquet following the tabling of the 2019 budget by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in parliament.

Naape said that although he was stunned to make the shortlist again, having previously been a finalist in 2018, his family weren’t so surprised.

“My family was extremely happy and proud of me, especially in 2017 when I made the cut for the first time. This time around, it was just normal to them. They are now aware of my potential and capabilities and, most importantly, they have always been supportive towards my career development,” Naape told Wits Vuvuzela.

The annual competition, launched in 1972, pits students from around the country to submit essays based on topical economic issues affecting South Africa and the world at large.

The essay topic for this year’s applicants read, “It is 2018 and a new ANC government is in place, what would you, as the new finance minister, do to restore fiscal credibility? What would the impact of this be on monetary policy and the economy?”

The submitted essays are then judged by a panel of adjudicators comprised of representatives from the competition’s sponsors, as well as National Treasury, the business sector, academia and external consultants before a shortlist is compiled.

Five of the 10 finalists in the postgraduate category were from Wits University. The students were Esther Bhosha, Cayleigh Brink, Daniela Lamparelli, Victor Sithole and Naape.

Head of School of Commerce Professor Jannie Rossouw told Wits Vuvuzela that the finalists had done well in cementing a strong Wits presence in the competition.

“We are very proud of them. It is not the first time that the school has had finalists. In previous years our finalists have done exceptionally well in winning, both at undergrad and postgrad levels. That is why we had high expectations of them.

“We are very grateful for students who make themselves available to participate. Likewise, we are also grateful for the academics who help them in this endeavour,” Prof Russouw added.

FEATURED IMAGEBaneng Naape was the winner of the postgraduate budget speech student competition in Cape Town Photo: Provided