TRIBUTES FROM PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, FORMER PRESIDENT THABO MBEKI & PROF. THULI MADONSELA
Tribute by the Minister of Higher Education and Training - Hlengiwe Mkhize
Prof Sampie's work is a gift to the youth of SA
The post-school education and training sector and the South African nation at large bemoans the passing-on of Professor Solomon Johannes "Sampie" Terreblanche.
Professor Sampie Terreblanche was born on 17 April 1933 and passed on on February 17, 2018. He was a world renowned South African economist and an author of economic books. We all remember his remarkable life and contribution in three broad areas; viz. politics, academia and social justice.
Terreblanche was professor emeritus of Economics at Stellenbosch University, where he built a reputation as a lecturer on a wide range of topics in economics amongst others; history of economic thought, economic history, the economy of South Africa, and economic systems.
He cut his political teeth as a student at Stellenbosch University where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in economics. He also obtained a Master Degree and a Doctorate in Philosophy, in the same university.
After spending three months at Harvard University, when he came back to Stellenbosch University he was appointed to the Chair of Economics teaching economic history. He lectured at the University of Orange Free State for eight years then he returned to Stellenbosch University.
Terreblanche has published an astounding total of eleven books and more than thirty articles in journals and chapters in books. He was a prolific writer of newspaper articles, predominantly on political and economic issues concerning South Africa’s long transitional period from 1980 onwards.
Sampie’s famous book History of Inequality in South Africa (1652 – 2002) will influence many generations to come. His work on the same book remains an epitome of his unpretentiousness and the verve he has always shown in tackling structural socio-economic challenges.
He was awarded an honorary doctorate (DCom, honoris causa) from the University of Pretoria for his lifelong contribution to the economic discipline in South Africa and played a major role in improving our understanding of the political economy and economic history of our country.
Political and social justice profile
At the height of the apartheid government's orchestrated gross human rights violations, he established the "Discussion Group 85" at Stellenbosch University. At the time, he became the voice of the masses by questioning the morality of the apartheid ideology.
When he appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 1997, Sampie made a brave statement by advocating that government should charge Wealth Tax as a weapon of initiating redress and to find ways of dismantling the gap between the haves and the have nots.
Professor Terreblanche’s contribution to the work of the TRC was unique and extraordinary in the sense that he sought government’s intervention in addressing the economic injustices against oppressed blacks. He became the voice of the oppressed during the country’s transitional phase from apartheid to democracy.
The underlying argument to his submission was the disquieting gap which exist between the rich and poor in our country. The widening gap was exacerbated by the fact that wealth and poverty are very largely defined in racial terms. He argued that the perpetuation of the gap was a very real threat to peace and stability.
In 2008 he co-wrote an article calling for the establishment of a Justice and Reconciliation Commission to educate whites who were the beneficiaries of this exploitive system.
We salute his commitment to the struggles of the oppressed by engaging with the powerful, learned and wealthy Afrikaners on the question of social construction of the poor, the question of the beneficiaries' responsibility in nation building; the race relations discourse in South Africa will be different. He followed in the footsteps of revolutionary leaders like Dr Beyers Naude who pursued the revolutionary agenda within the Afrikaner community and the society at large.
Sampie has passed on in the year when the country is commemorating Tata Mandela’s life and there is a resolve to revisit the values he lived by and commitments he made in establishing a non-racist, non-sexist equal society.
There is a generally renewed sense of hope about possibilities of unity in this country since President Cyril Ramaphosa used the State of the Nation Address delivered on February 15 to revive the importance of unity. Sampie's work is a gift to the youth of South Africa and the world at large, which will guide them as they pursue an inclusive agenda thereby creating a non-racist, non-sexist, equal society.
- Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize is minister of higher education and training.
US bring hulde aan prof Sampie Terreblanche: legendariese ekonoom, geliefde lektor en kritiese stem
“Dit is met groot hartseer dat ek namens die Universiteit Stellenbosch ons diepe meegevoel betuig teenoor die familie van prof Sampie Terreblance,” het prof Wim de Villiers, Rektor en Visekanselier van die Universiteit Stellenbosch gesê. “Ons eer hom as ŉ legendariese politieke ekonoom; geliefde inspirerende lektor vir duisende van ons studente, en een van die US se kritiese stemme.”
Die US het Prof Terreblanche op 10 Desember 2015 met ŉ eredoktorsgraad vereer. Sy akademiese loopbaan aan die US het oor die helfte van die 90 bestaansjare van die Fakulteit Ekonomiese en Bestuurswetenskappe (EBW) gestrek. Hy is met die graad Doktor in die Handelswetenskappe (DCom) Honoris Causa vereer vir sy "uitsonderlike bydrae as diepsinnige ontleder van sosiaal-ekonomiese stelsels, sy klem op sosiale verbetering vir almal in talle rigtinggewende publikasies en sy vreeslose voorspraak vir die beëindiging van apartheid in Suid-Afrika". Hy het deur die jare ŉ onuitwisbare impak op menige ekonomiestudent aan die US gehad.
Met sy kenmerkend lewendige aanbiedingstyl geniet “prof Sampie” die status van ŉ legende aan die US. Met dieselfde geesdrif waarmee hy denke oor die sosiaal-ekonomiese stelsel beïnvloed het, het hy sy vakgebied vir studente ontsluit. Talle vooraanstaande ekonome skryf hul sukses aan dié vernuwende denker en geliefde professor toe.
Sy klem op sosiale verbetering vir die groot gemeenskap is ŉ deurlopende tema in sy werk. As lid van die destydse Kommissie van Ondersoek na Aangeleenthede rakende die Kleurlingbevolkingsgroep (1973–1967) – die Erika Theron Kommissie – kom hy diep onder die indruk van die probleem van strukturele armoede. Dit word ŉ blywende invloed in sy denke oor die Suid-Afrikaanse politieke ekonomie en figureer in baie van sy publikasies, waaronder 12 boeke en meer as 30 artikels en boek hoofstukke. Selfs andersdenkende vakgenote erken ruiterlik die hoogstaande gehalte van sy werk.
Sy bydrae tot politieke transformasie is eweneens op die strewe na sosiale verbetering vir die benadeelde meerderheid gerig. Ná 1994 bly sy insigte rigtinggewend en is veral sy A history of Inequality in South Africa, 1652–2002 ŉ belangrike verwysingspunt vir hedendaagse Suid-Afrikaanse ekonomiese en sosiale analise
Tribute by Prof. Patrick Bond in the Mail & Guardian
SA economist whose
work went global wrote
with a deep idealism
OBITUARY: SAMPIE TERREBLANCHE (1933-2018)
Sampie Terreblanche’s name will live on in the hearts and minds of social scientists, economic justice activists and perhaps even a few guilt-ridden politicians. Indeed, President Cyril Ramaphosa tweeted generous condolences on Monday.
Terreblanche died on February 17 at age 84 of brain cancer.
His pen channelled his quiet fury about the world’s and South Africa’s worsening inequality and always with crystal-clear analytical force.
He was first drawn to this research as a member of the 1970s Erika Theron Commission on the poverty of the coloured people in the Western Cape.
His 1980 book Wordings van die Westerse Ekonomie began his process of expanding the scale of analysis to the global. By 2014, he had summed up the systemic character of West-versus-Rest exploitation, with a strong institutionalist focus but doing so while drawing upon the finest structural (including Marxist) critiques of global capitalism. His last three books – all deserving space on any concerned citizen’s library – were A History of Inequality in South Africa, 1652-2002 (KMMR Publishers and UKZN Press, 2002), Lost in Transformation (KMMR Publishers, 2012) and Western Empires (Penguin, 2014).
Terreblanche wrote with a deep idealism, in a country repeatedly scoring at the very highest levels of both income and wealth inequality, in a world whose richest have far outpaced any prior era for greed, hedonistic consumption and structured systems of exploitation. He observed in his home village of Stellenbosch some of the world’s most extreme capitalists, in a country whose workers are considered the most confrontational on earth (in annual World Economic Forum surveys) and its businessmen the world’s most corrupt (in bi-annual PricewaterhouseCoopers reports, which posit that “eight out of ten senior managers do economic crime”). Here, he always reminded, the poorest 15 million are young children and – if lucky not to fall through innumerable bureaucratic cracks or have their grant raided by the World Bank-owned CPS Net1 – they are surviving on R380/month: the tokenistic Child Support Grant with which mothers must attempt to pay for food and other essentials.
Terreblanche insisted on a more realistic poverty line of R50/day, under which StatisticsSA finds no less than 55% of our society, up from 45% in 1994 (but University of Cape Town SA Labour and Development Research Unit bean counters consider StatsSA’s current methodology biased, resulting in a 10% under-count). The inability to address this stain on our political democracy angered Terreblanche so much that in his frustration, he complained mightily of the liberation government’s acquiescence to corporate capital’s ‘neo-colonial’ agenda. Some critics – like Tito Mboweni – find in Lost in Transformation a ‘conspiracy theory’ but aside from disputes about whether the Development Bank of Southern Africa hosted elite deal-making evening chats, the basic thesis is sound, parallel to the Ronnie Kasrils ‘Faustian Pact’ revelations.
At a University of Johannesburg symposium celebrating Terreblanche last month, the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Verne Harris explained: “Did Mandela have breakfast with Douw Stein, lunch with Harry Oppenheimer, dinner with Sol Kerzner? Yes, but was he cutting macro-economic deals? No, he was raising funds for his party.” Still, what was the policy cost of generously nurturing and relegitimising these lads? Watching from his daughter’s Stellenbosch home on skype, an alert, appreciative Terreblanche – suffering the last stages of brain cancer – did not reply.
But, no socialist he, Terreblanche’s answer wouldn’t have been to chide Mandela for failing to nationalise ill-begotten apartheid loot or for assuaging tycoons about the sanctity of post-apartheid property rights. Instead, Terreblanche testified to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 1997 meetings on big business and apartheid, where he called for a substantive wealth tax. One commissioner, Yasmin Sooka, told the UJ memorial how the TRC’s unofficial representative from Brenthurst scuppered that idea.
Mandela had insisted in 1994 that to avoid the deficit/GDP ratio rising beyond its then 9% level, a once-off 5% income tax supplement was necessary. Then, under pressure from Washington Consensus disciples, Mandela agreed on a primary corporate tax cut from 56% to 38%, and after 1999 it fell another 10%. Due to the discursive power of neoliberal capitalism – and aside from students’ #FeesMustFall proposals in 2015-16 – there has been no subsequent public discussion on reversing that calamitous fall, even though the promised pay-back by business in the form of private sector gross fixed capital investment only briefly materialised, during the 2002-07 minerals and consumer credit boom. Before and after, business has been on an investment strike.
In late 1997, Terreblanche was widely ridiculed by the establishment, but last month the Wits Southern Centre on Inequality Studies issued its first working paper: his TRC testimony, preceded by an updated appeal to put the taxation of wealth – both windfall and durable – back on the public agenda. The balance of forces in public policy discourse prevented either this week, but next year there is an election. And in my last long discussion with Terreblanche a month before he died, I could see how committed he remained to electoral solutions, generous social policy and tighter exchange controls that would put Scandinavian-style social democracy back into the mix, even under rule by a rand-mullti-billionaire whose accumulation of wealth via illicit financial flows remains a mystery but helps explain such extraordinary levels of inequality here, and everywhere.
More Twitter Tributes
RIP: ‘People’s economist’ Sampie Terreblanche dies at 84
In honour of fallen people's economist, as SAFTU we dip our flag. Your work helped us expose inequalities in our society. You reminded apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa of the injustice inherent in economic inequality .
#RIP Professor #SampieTerreblanche
Today I feel privileged to have put together a short TV piece highlighting the life and times of an extraordinary South African, Prof. Sampie Terreblanche. May his soul rest in peace.
One of my favourite lecturers,
#SampieTerreblanche, who passed away this week taught us about race-capitalism. Many fought him on the land matter but none, none, could win the argument that whites stole the land. I agreed with him then and do so now. RIP Sampie
If you read books by
#SampieTerreblanche, you’ll understand why media houses seldom used him for analysis on political developments in the country
I learnt with sadness of the passing of Sampie Terreblanche. His daughter Christelle's tribute: https://www.facebook.com/