A highlight of the annual Winter School is the last day ‘student debates’. This year the students presented their arguments virtually, with big prizes at stake. Students divided into 6 groups of around 5 students each, each team competing either for or against these statements:

  1. Should government introduce a basic income grant?
  2. Vaccines should be made compulsory for all South Africa’s over 18
  3. Covid-19 lockdown regulations: Necessary response or government overreach?
Professor Michael Sachs from the University of the Witwatersrand acted as the ‘judge’ for the debates, supported by a panel – Ronette Engela (GTAC, leading National Treasury’s spending reviews), Boitumelo Mashilo (GTAC, leading the Capital Projects Appraisals unit), Thokozile Masangu (DPME, leading evaluation unit) and Andrew Donaldson (University of Cape Town).

Please watch the videos of the debates; the standard of debate was excellent, and the process was certainly a lot fun! After much deliberation the winning teams for each of the arguments were announced. The team arguing in favour of a Basic Income Grant won their argument, whilst the team arguing against making vaccines compulsory won their argument. In the last debate the team disagreeing with the statement that government overplayed its role with the lockdown restrictions won.


The dedicated Winter School 2021 website houses all the presentations, and videos of the impressive student debates. Please also watch and share the two short videos we prepared for the 2021 Winter School students: