FMF welcomes back former staff member as Head of Policy
The Free Market Foundation (FMF) is pleased to welcome Martin van Staden, a long-time contributor to the work of the FMF, back to the organisation as its Head of Policy. Van Staden assumed this position on 1 June.
David Ansara, CEO of the FMF, says, “I am delighted that Martin will be returning to the FMF. Martin’s deep understanding of the policy environment and his reputation as one of the brightest advocates for individual freedom in South Africa make him an ideal fit for this senior role.”
Van Staden previously served as a Legal Researcher at the FMF from January 2017 to June 2019, whereupon he became the Head of Legal Policy, a role he fulfilled until December 2020. Van Staden has also served on the Board of the Foundation since November 2021, its Executive Committee since 2020, and its Rule of Law Panel since 2019.
Van Staden has in the interim worked at the business community Sakeliga and the classical liberal think-tank the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), both entities with which the FMF shares many values and objectives. Van Staden additionally continues to maintain strong ties with Sakeliga and the IRR.
In the academic domain, Van Staden is presently completing a doctorate in law at the University of Pretoria, where he graduated with a master’s degree with distinction in 2021. His master’s dissertation was titled “In favorem libertatis: The prospect of liberty in the transformation(isation) of South African law”, and his doctoral thesis is provisionally titled “Transformationism in South African constitutional discourse: A historical and thematic appraisal.”
“I am excited to be a significant part of the FMF’s renewal. South Africa, now more than ever since 1994, needs effective advocates – agitators, even – for sensible policy, particularly in the economic realm. The FMF has an unavoidably important role to play in this regard,” Van Staden says.
On the role he sees for policy advocacy in South Africa’s present circumstances, Van Staden says, “The present government has shown itself to not be an entirely good-faith actor in the realm of policy creation. Business and civic groups pleading with the government to change in our present context seems wrongheaded. Government does not change of its own accord. It misinterprets its election victories as a blanket mandate to implement policies from the losing side of the Cold War. Policy reform in our current circumstances can only happen as a result of the force of reality or the pressure of the electorate.”
Ansara concludes, “Martin knows the history of the FMF and understands our DNA. At the same time, he recognises that the rapidly deteriorating political and economic situation in South Africa will necessitate new approaches to our advocacy. The task of the FMF is not only to advance the idea of a free society, but to actively push back against state interference and other encroachments on personal liberty.”