I was elected a member of the Board of Non-Executive Directors at Free Market Foundation South Africa (FMF) this week. It’s an honor to serve one of Africa’s very reputable think-tanks – one that contributed immensely in the fight against apartheid, and, in advancing liberty in South Africa over the past forty years.
The FMF was founded in 1975. Its mission, ever since, has been “to promote and foster an open society, the rule of law, personal liberty, and economic and press freedom as fundamental components of its advocacy of human rights and democracy based on classical liberal principles” in South Africa.
The existence of this foundation is a blessing for our young, sometimes dysfunctional democracy. It contributed a great deal to South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution. Its hard work resulted in a constitution that, though with imperfections, recognizes the significance of private property rights.
But I will not bore you with the history of the FMF – which I have very limited knowledge of. If you want to learn more about this famous institution, visit our website: www.freemarketfoundation.com.
I will rather take this opportunity to point out a few things that I think South Africans should be cognizant of.
Firstly, we live in tough times –where liberty is under threat. The political elite desperately seeks power. They use every technique to deny us our freedom. They pass laws often, in order to repress our liberties.
So we are in a time where the Free Market Foundation is more needed. They, along with the South African Institute of Race Relations have devoted themselves to the cause that will save South Africa’s future. And I’m glad to be part of this cause. I want to be part of this cause.
Secondly, our economy is headed in the wrong direction, because the political elite’s mission, it seems, is to control all the activities that you and I engage in in the market. The size of government is ever-expanding. Every time President Jacob Zuma stands at the podium to address the nation, he announces committees and commissions that cost taxpayers billions of rands.
The FMF’s mission is to call for the renunciation of the policies that constrain the markets, and the reduction of the size of the state. This is the only way we can revive our economy, create the needed jobs, while we guaranty liberty to our citizens.
At Free Market Foundation we have numerous projects we are currently committed to, and that we hope will make this country a better place. The two most important ones at the moment, at least in my opinion, are the Labor Law Challenge, spearheaded by Herman Mashaba, and the Khaya Lami Project.
It was in March 2013 when we launched the Labor Law Challenge. We are challenging section 32 (2) of the Labour Relations Act (LRA 1995).
Basically, under section 32 (2), the minister of labor “must” extend bargaining councils agreements (be it on conditions of employment or wages) to non-parties. Most parties in bargaining councils are big businesses, whose decisions have a huge impact on small businesses.
We want one word changed in section 32 (2), and that is “must” to “may”. Changing this one word will allow the minister to apply his thinking on the impact the bargaining councils agreements will have on small businesses and those desperate for employment. Big businesses should not decide the fate of small businesses. It’s unfair.
Changing section 32 (2) will result in survival of many small businesses that suffer and shutdown due to the fact that bargaining councils agreements are forced upon them, and to creation of jobs for the unemployed. We need your support as we battle trade unions who oppose our constitutional challenge.
The Khaya Lami project is also a very important initiative. The project’s aim, as we explain on our website, is “to convert all municipal council-owned apartheid-era rental houses into freehold and freely tradable properties with title deeds issued to the registered occupants, many of whom have lived in them for decades under a form of “house arrest””. Millions of these council rental houses are owned by municipalities.
We urge South Africans to donate to this project. We just need R1 850.00 to covert each property. This amount covers conveyancing costs, administration and supervision cost. Donate, and help to bring about economic and social upliftment in South Africa.
Here are other initiatives we have devoted ourselves to in order to make South Africa one of the prosperous countries in the world:
- Luminary Awards – The FMF recognizes unique individuals who inspire others in a particular sphere of life.
- Civil liberties – We’re arguably the most active defender of civil liberties in the country.
- Weekly Business Day column – Our Executive Director, Leon Louw writes this column, and it has become the first item that many Business Day subscribers read every morning.
- Website and social media – We are on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Please do follow our work.
- Free Market Foundation Youth – The FMF Youth seeks to advance the cause of liberty by persuading young people toward an understanding of and appreciation of the benefits of the free market. I spearhead this division.
- Energy Policy Unit (EPU) – The EPU is composed of energy experts and FMF Executive members who are seeking market solutions to the current energy crisis
- Finance Policy Unit (FPU) – This unit has been established to monitor regulations and their effects on consumers, especially low-income consumers.
- Health Policy Unit – Our Director, Jasson Urbach, represents the foundation on matters relating to health care.
We are doing all we can to make South Africa a much better place. Please support us on this very long journey to freedom.
The FMF is an organization rich with history. And all South Africans should be grateful of its existence and its contribution to the well-being of our society. We need this foundation.
I personally am honored to join its Board of Non-Executive Directors, and look forward to advancing human freedom in Africa and around the world. But we need your support in steering South Africa in the right direction. Help us make a difference.