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The FMF is an independent, non-profit, public benefit organisation, created in 1975 by pro-free market business and civil society national bodies to work for a non-racial, free and prosperous South Africa. As a policy organisation it promotes sound economic policies and the principles of good law. As a think tank it seeks and puts forward solutions to some of the country’s most pressing problems: unemployment, poverty, growth, education, health care, electricity supply, and more. The FMF was instrumental in the post-apartheid negotiations and directly influenced the Constitutional Commission to include the property rights clause: a critical cornerstone of economic freedom.
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Free Market Foundation committed to openness
Media briefing ahead of 2021 AGM confronts ‘defamatory, baseless and rancorous’ allegations
The Free Market Foundation is committed to continuing its decades-long advocacy work for economic freedom, personal liberties and an open, transparent South African society.
The Foundation has been beset recently by allegations that include mismanagement of donor money; profound (and undesirable) cultural change; and authoritarian, non-constitutional composition of the board. The Foundation addressed these allegations, and their impact, at a media briefing today. The briefing was held a day ahead of the annual general meeting of the Foundation, where members will elect a new board.
Mr Rex van Schalkwyk, retired judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa and board chairperson, confirmed that the legitimacy of the present board has been challenged and is presently the subject of litigation initiated by a single Free Market Foundation member. The action was brought more than a year after the apparently disputed annual general meeting of 2020. A majority of board members voted to oppose the matter brought against the Foundation.
The Foundation affirms the legitimacy of its board, and that amendments to its constitution (approved by a majority of voting members) are similarly legitimate and valid, Mr Van Schalkwyk said. Board members were voted into their positions in line with the constitution of the Foundation, and with a legitimately installed person in the chair at the 2020 AGM. Any suggestions to the contrary are baseless, as the Foundation is eager to show in court.
Former board chairperson and finance committee member Mr Ayanda Khumalo said accusations of financial mismanagement at the Free Market Foundation are defamatory and absolutely without merit. A recent forensic audit (initiated by a donor) found such allegations to be baseless. “In fact,” Mr Khumalo said, “the donor who commissioned the audit donated a further R8-million to the Free Market Foundation on the back of that audit report.”
It is regrettable, he added, that the decades-long member unity that is a hallmark of the Foundation has been eroded through groundless and rancorous claims. The Foundation remains committed to its work and to continuing a proud tradition of embedding the principles and practice of free markets, individualism, the rule of law and non-racialism in South Africa, despite any attempts by disgruntled members to sow dissent.
The board and staff fear there may be attempts to disrupt tomorrow’s annual general meeting and called today’s media briefing in line with the ethos and practice of transparency and accessibility of the Foundation.
This is the polar opposite of the apparent and alleged “closed, elitist, illiberal and politicised club” that the Foundation is accused of becoming.
“People who are familiar with our work know that the Free Market Foundation honours classic liberal values and free market principles. The Foundation’s Khaya Lam and land-reform projects, for example, render the term ‘elitist’ patent nonsense,” Mr Van Schalkwyk said.
In its Khaya Lam project, the Free Market Foundation invests in transferring the title deeds of houses from local authorities into the names of the families who live in those homes. To date, more than 6 200 ordinary South African families have benefitted from Khaya Lam.
Issued by Flow Communications on behalf of the Free Market Foundation.
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Chuma Siswana on Chuma@Flowsa.com or 060 330 2425