Matie Voices

Francois Groepe

Alumnus of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences and the University of Stellenbosch Business School

“There is no substitute for hard work and no shortcuts to gaining experience.”

As deputy governor of the South African Reserve Bank since 2012, Francois Groepe is used to solving problems. Whatever the challenge, he uses his education and experience in accounting, business science, law and economics to find a solution.

“Being in senior management allows me to seamlessly apply the knowledge and experience gained in all my areas of training and work. I’m not necessarily a big enthusiast of inter-disciplinary studies or approaches, I am a believer in intra-disciplinary studies and approaches.”

For Francois it is all about people and he found that the most complex problems are best solved by looking at it from different angles and perspectives and to unpack or disaggregate it so that it is less complex and daunting.

“There is no substitute for hard work and no shortcuts to gaining experience.” He says that those who are in the position should use their influence and access to be the voice for the voiceless and the invisibles. “Capitalism in some form can only prevail if it is inclusive and caring about the plight of the forgotten ones and those left behind. As important as it is to allow the entrepreneur to benefit from their efforts and initiative, it cannot be that we stand ambivalent towards issues such as widening inequality and abject poverty. Myopic short-termism may yield profits but a more inclusive approach is more likely to guarantee sustainability.”

He refers to his four years (1988-1991) as fulltime Matie student and his role as primarius of Gold Fields residence as “the best years of my life”. He graduated with a bachelor’s and honours bachelor’s in commerce specialising in management accounting. In 1992 he proceeded to write the qualifying examination of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and was admitted as an associate chartered management accountant (ACMA) and in 2017 he was admitted as a fellow of the CIMA.

While starting his career he kept on studying part time. He graduated with a honours bachelor’s in business administration and MBA both with distinction from SU in 1995 and 1996 respectively. A postgraduate diploma in tax law from UCT in 1998 and LLB and LLM degrees from Unisa followed. Still there was no end to his studies and he completed an MSc in finance in 2016, specialising in economic policy from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London University. He is currently enrolled as an external PhD candidate at Leiden University with his thesis titled ‘Equality and the Right to Effective Legal Representation’.

- By Elbie Els -