School learners win bursaries to further finance, economic degrees

Alan Winde MPP

Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism

Western Cape Government

Craig Lucas, a former Elsies River High School learner, has just started his internship at the Western Cape Provincial Treasury, after a life-changing decision five year ago.

In 2009, Lucas entered the Nedbank, Western Cape Provincial Treasury and Western Cape Department of Education Essay Writing Awards and was one of its first winners.

Reflecting on his journey since he won the competition and with it, a full university bursary, Lucas said: “I’m now set to start building a career in public service. If anyone were to ask me five years ago where I see myself in the next five years, I could never have imagined myself working for the government, but now I can’t imagine myself working anywhere else.” Lucas and his fellow winners, have just started their 3-year long internship at the Western Cape Provincial Treasury.

The 2014 winners of the Nedbank, Western Cape Provincial Treasury and the Western Cape Department of Education Essay Writing Competition were announced this weekend. Held since 2008, the awards strive to develop the next generation of mathematicians, accountants and economists in the Western Cape. There have been 54 winners since the competition’s launch.

The top twelve finalists each won a bursary to an accredited tertiary institution. In addition, the overall winner received a cash prize of R10 000, the first runner up received R7 500, the second runner up received R5 000 and the remaining nine finalists each won R2 000.

The teachers of the top three students each won a cash amount ranging from R10 000 to R7 000. The teachers of the remaining nine winners each received R5 000.

Below is the complete list of winners:

Lené Dippenaar Tygerberg High School
Jonyke Raats Bloemhof Girls High School
Gior du Plessis Paul Roos Gymnasium
Stefano Filippi Rondebosch Boys High School
Yolanda Khumalo Rhodes High School
Bianca Ehlers Bloemhof Girls High School
Liamé Smit Tygerberg High School
Elke Links George High School
Jeandré Joubert Outeniqua High School
Siyasanga Mbuku Masibambane Secondary School
Deejayjunior Jay Windsor High School
Katlego Makena Brackenfell High School


The essay writing competition is open to learners taking economics, mathematics or accounting as subjects from all of the 213 secondary schools in the Western Cape.

This year’s entrants were required to write an essay of 2 200 words on the following topic:

“The effects of the global economic meltdown and ensuing recession in 2009 had severe negative effects on the world and South  African economy, including  a  sharp   rise  in  poverty, downturn  in  economic  growth, sharp increase  in job losses and a general  downturn in the standard of living. However, since  then  there  have  been  positive signs  of  the  start  of  a slow economic recovery in our Country, as well on the government’s stated intentions to fight poverty. Critically  analyse   the   above-mentioned  current  economic  situation  in South  Africa, identify the  main  characteristics of  the  poverty situation in our  country, and  make  recommendations to  government and  business  on possible interventions to  stimulate economic growth, improve job  creation and the standard of living  in our country.”

Alan Winde, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, said the competition Lené Dippenaar, made useful suggestions in her essay titled: “End of the Road or Window of Opportunity?” Her recommendations included a focus on education, addressing skills shortages and maximises international trade relationships.

“I was impressed by the quality of this year’s essays, as learners put their recommendations forward to grow our economy.  The finance and business industry is one of our key sectors and contribute 32.4% to the province’s Gross Domestic Product. The Western Cape Government is working to ensure that we address skills shortages in our critical sectors. One of the goals of this project is to encourage enthusiasm in important subjects such as mathematics, economics and accounting. This initiative also offers young people the valuable work experience they need after they study in order to build their careers,” said Minister Winde.

Donald Grant, Minister of Education, said: “What makes the Nedbank/Western Cape Government essay writing competition special is its focus on maths, economics and accounting.  My time as Minister of Education has confirmed my belief that these subjects are priority areas for advancing education (and more specifically financial literacy) in this province because of their importance in building the future of this country. Proficiency, especially in mathematics, also forms the basis of many of our further education and training fields in science, technology, engineering and business – all key sectors for a growing economy such as ours. Therefore, as a government, we are working hard to encourage our learners to take mathematics and science – gateway subjects for the economic development of our province and of the personal career opportunities of our learners – we have placed a lot of resources in these subject areas,” said Minister Grant.