Johann Kirsten was Professor and head of the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development at the University of Pretoria for 20 years before accepting the position as Director of the BER on 1 August 2016. He was born in Cape Town and matriculated from the Hoërskool Jan van Riebeeck in 1979.
He graduated with a BSc Agric degree and BSc Agric (Hons) degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Stellenbosch. He enrolled for postgraduate studies at the University of Pretoria and obtained a Master’s degree and PhD degree in Agricultural Economics. He joined the University of Pretoria in 1992 and during his career of almost 25 years as academic he excelled as a scholar and supervisor of many Masters and PhD students.
His recognition as exceptional achiever at UP for the last 15 years and his rating at the National Research Foundation as an internationally acclaimed researcher (B2) are all testimony to his solid academic standing. His main research interests are agricultural policy, agricultural commodity markets, land reform and the economics of origin-based foods.
"Craig participated in the BER’s internship programme in 2007 and re-joined the BER as an economist in 2010. His main research focus at the BER is on the construction sector where he is the editor of the quarterly Building and Construction report in additional to taking responsibility for analysing and forecasting trends in fixed investment. Over his career he has written over 50 reports covering various macroeconomic topics and is a regular commentator on economic events.
Craig was appointed as the Deputy Director of the BER in 2023 and is therefore also involved in the day-to-day management as well has leading a number of key strategic initiatives.
Craig holds a Master’s of Economics degree and a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree, both from Stellenbosch University."
Craig is a founding member and trustee of the Cape Town Carnival.
"Lisette joined the BER in 2012 and currently manages the BER's suite of business and consumer surveys. She also edits the BER Weekly Review and often takes responsibility for the Week in Perspective section, which provides a succinct overview of the week's most important economic developments. In addition to local trends, she keeps a keen eye on the global macro environment and helps craft the BER's forecast narrative.
Lisette holds a Master’s of Economics degree and a postgraduate diploma in Futures Studies (cum laude), both from Stellenbosch University.
On top of Lisette’s travel bucket list is seeing the northern lights, but she would also like to visit the South Pole – and everything in between.
"Helanya oversees the BER's commissioned research projects and provides commentary on the BER's quarterly Retail Survey. With an interest in policy research and the effective communication of economic narratives and data, she brings experience from both the private sector (FTI Consulting, Econex) and the public sector (Western Cape Department of Agriculture). She enjoys helping firms and policymakers navigate and quantify the impact of an ever-changing environment.
Her academic credentials include an MSc in Competition and Regulation (cum laude) from Utrecht University and an MComm in Economics from Stellenbosch University."
In another life, Helanya would have been a documentary filmmaker.
"Shannon holds the responsibility of overseeing and maintaining the BER macroeconometric model for forecasting the SA economy. Before joining the BER, she gained valuable experience working in the Economic Policy division at the National Treasury and the Public Investment Corporation’s Research and Projects Development team.
Shannon holds a Master in Econometrics degree (cum laude) from the University of Pretoria."
Shannon says "In an alternative life, I'd probably be a quirky math teacher".
After holding various positions within the private sector and being the director and full-time partner of specialist regulatory economics consultancy Econex, Cobus joined the BER as a senior consulting economist in 2012. At the BER, he manages the macro service. He has extensive experience in economic impact assessments, tourism, telecoms and medical economics sectors.
Cobus holds a Master’s of Economics degree, Stellenbosch University.
In response to the question, Hayek or Keynes, Cobus responded:” Hayek obviously! Who’s the other guy?”
Katrien began her association with the BER as a PhD scholar in March 2022, but transitioned to an economist role in August 2023. In her current position, she is responsible for the Other Services Survey and developing international assumptions for the BER’s quarterly economic forecasts. Katrien enjoys her role as a macroeconomist, appreciating the opportunity it provides to engage in broad, strategic thinking. Her passion for economics is further fueled by her ongoing PhD research, which delves into the intricate maze of inflation expectations in South Africa, aiming to unravel the complexities that drive them.
If Katrien were to grace the Olympics, she'd be a gold medal contender in the endurance smiling event.
Nicolaas started his career as an economist for government, whereafter he also worked as a commodity market analyst in Johannesburg. At the BER, he is responsible for the data publications, the fiscal forecast, processing the survey results and writing the inflation expectations report. Nicolaas also work on ad hoc research projects such as constructing price indices or wine industry analysis.
Nicolaas loves scifi novels and movies, he's a real Trekkie.
Tracey-Lee joined the BER in 2020 as a trainee economist. Her responsibilities include the management of the Building Cost Information Service, the BER's international currencies forecasts and monitoring developments in the oil market. Tracey-Lee holds a Master’s of Economics degree, Stellenbosch University.
If it was up to Tracey-Lee to decide what she could be in another life, she would like to be an astronaut.
Nkosie joined the BER in February 2024, he will focus on the manufacturing sector and fixed investment trends. Nkosie worked in finance at Momentum Metropolitan, then in Policy Research and Analysis in the Department of the Premier, Western Cape Government. At the National Treasury, he was primarily involved in industrial policy research, and wrote the manufacturing and the Purchasing Managers Index reports. Prior to joining the BER, he was lecturing both micro- and macroeconomics to undergraduates at the University of Pretoria (UP). He is currently completing a PhD in Economics at UP where he analyses the impact of both domestic and global shocks on the South African economy, particularly on growth and inflation, and which macroeconomic policy tools are appropriate responses to mitigate the negative effects. Nkosie holds a Master of Commerce (Economics) from Stellenbosch University.
Nkosie’s other name is Professor – and he says "That is how big my mother’s dreams were!"
Romano previously worked as a Graduate Economist at the Macroeconomic Analysis Unit, Gauteng Provincial Treasury. At the BER, Romano takes shared responsibility for running and maintaining the BER’s macroeconomic model. He makes price assumptions for key South African export commodities and, where relevant, assists with econometric modelling projects.
Romano holds a Master’s degree in Econometrics (cum laude) from the University of Pretoria.
Beyond the charts and graphs, Romano is a movie buff with an uncanny skill: he can pinpoint the release year of most movies with a 90% success rate!
Ntombi is responsible for the BER’s data collection and various data publications for both in-house use and for clients. She is also responsible for the compilation of the summary of survey results and assists in updating client presentations. Ntombi co-ordinates the BER’s trainee programme including recruitment and mentoring.
Ntombi holds an Honour’s degree in Statistics, Stellenbosch University.
In another life, Ntombi would be a professional dancer.
Linette is a consulting economist at the BER with extensive experience in macro-econometric modelling and forecasting, consumer spending and the South African retail sector. As an expert in econometric modelling, Linette has conducted quantitative ad hoc research such as price elasticity analyses, scenario forecasts and economic impact studies for numerous South African corporates and government institutions, including Woolworths, SAB, Sanlam, BATSA, NERSA, Sasol, Nedcor, Transnet, Distell, Brandhouse, Media24 Newspapers, Tsogo Sun casinos, ACSA, and ACS.
At the BER, Linette is responsible for analysing and forecasting household consumption expenditure, writing the FNB/BER Consumer Confidence Press Release and conducting ad hoc research, forecasts, and economic outlook presentations to BER clients.
Linette holds a Master’s of Economics degree (cum laude) from Stellenbosch University.
Jaques joined the BER in 2017 after two years as Project Accountant at FMHS Stellenbosch University and prior to that in various accounting roles, including eight years at UCT and over five years in the private sector. Jaques oversees, monitors, advises, supports, implements and delivers financial solutions and provides leadership with regard to all financial matters within the BER.
Jaques is a CIMA registered accountant, holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Accounting and a Bcompt. Accounting Sciences degree.
If someone made a movie about his life, Jaques thinks it would be a comedy and he would like Tyler Perry to play the lead role.
"Celestè joined the BER in 2003 and is responsible for the internal and external communications at the BER. A few of her responsibilities include branding and visual identity, media liaison, managing the company social media platforms a well as event co-ordinating and some graphic design. Celestè also contributes to the production of the quarterly Business and Inflation Expectation surveys.
Most recently Celestè was appointed to serve as the BER’s PASS staff representative for the EMS Faculty Transformation Committee."
In another life Celeste would have liked to be a Journalist and Magazine Editor
Michelle has been employed by the BER since 2009 and is in charge of all the administration for Macro and Executive clients. Michelle is also responsible for the administration of ad hoc projects, and has a number of other administrative tasks within the BER.
Michelle can do a traditional Scottish Highland sword dance.
"Nomvelo is part of the ongoing Economist Internship Programme in conjunction with the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). As a BER trainee, she will gain experience in all aspects of business oriented economic analysis. During the course of the year, she will assist with the BER’s survey analysis and the BER Weekly Review, as well as gain further experience with econometric modelling and forecasting.
Nomvelo holds an Honour's degree in Economics from the University of Pretoria."
Nomvelo is a big fan of superhero comics and at the top of her bucket list is attending the San Diego Comic-Con.
"Tshidiso is part of an ongoing Economist Internship Programme in conjunction with the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). While he is a full-time employee of the SARB, he has been seconded to the BER to gain experience in all aspects of business orientated economic analysis. During the course of the year, he will assist with the BER's survey analysis and BER Weekly Review, as well as gain further experience in econometric modelling and forecasting.
Tshidiso holds an Honours degree in Econometrics (cum laude), University of Pretoria."
I love going out for slice of cake once a month, but I am trying to do it twice a month since you only live once.
"Pabalelo is part of the ongoing Economist Internship Programme in conjunction with the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). While he is a full-time employee of the SARB, he has been seconded to the BER to gain experience in all aspects of business oriented economic analysis. During the course of year, he will assist with the BER’s survey analysis and the BER Weekly Review, as well as gain further experience with econometric modelling and forecasting.
Pabalelo holds an Honour’s degree in Economics (cum laude), University of the Witwatersrand."
In another life, Pabalelo would be a Chef.