Media release: Free Market Foundation notes judgment in vexatious anti-FMF litigation

11 February 2023

Gail Day

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 notes judgment in vexatious anti-FMF litigation

The Free Market Foundation (FMF) notes the judgment of the Gauteng Division of the High Court in the cost application between the FMF and Mike Hull, who vexatiously sued the FMF in August 2021 in an attempt to have the lawfully constituted FMF Board at the time declared illegitimate.

This seven-month-long court application came at great cost to the FMF, despite its low likelihood of success. That Hull withdrew his meritless lawsuit in March 2022, therefore, came as no surprise. Said Rex van Schalkwyk, Chairman of the FMF Board, at the time: “The withdrawal of the matter affirms our confidence that we would have won the case on merit. The Foundation had lodged its heads of argument and was urging the applicant to reciprocate. His withdrawal indicates that he understood his case was baseless.”

As a non-profit organisation, the FMF was then compelled to apply for a cost order to recover some of the funds expended defending against Hull's baseless attack.

The High Court has now ruled that each party is to pay its own costs in the main application, and for the FMF to pay the costs in the cost application. The cost order has no bearing on the merits of Hull’s vexatious main application.

“The FMF was successful in the main application,” says Deputy Chairman of the FMF Executive Committee, Martin van Staden. “Our case won the day in March 2022 when Hull withdrew and, therein, acknowledged the baselessness of his attack. Hull's attempt to undermine the constitutional functioning of the organisation in favour of an internal faction, which has since been removed from the Foundation, failed. The FMF is optimistic about its future as South Africa’s foremost advocate of individual liberty and economic freedom.”

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