Media release: Second anniversary of FMF labour challenge

FMF Media Release
5 March 2015

Second Anniversary of FMF Labour Challenge

Today, 5 March 2015, is exactly two years since the launch of the Free Market Foundation’s constitutional challenge to a single yet devastating word in Section 32 of the Labour Relations Act. This clause says the Minister of Labour “must” as opposed to “may” impose private and collusive labour contracts on non-parties, including millions of employed and unemployed labourers, and thousands of employers. People who were not involved in negotiations have wages rates, and terms and conditions, imposed on them irrespective of their circumstances, such as the ability of the unemployed to find employers willing and able to employ them under prohibitive conditions.

Bargaining council employment conditions are crafted by and suit organisations representing privileged businesses and trade unions. They get into the castle and pull up the drawbridge behind them to keep out our most vulnerable people, small businesses and the job-seekers. These are the people South Africa desperately needs to create jobs and prosperity for all.

Despite us having the world’s highest sustained unemployment rate and a stagnating economy, two valuable years have been wasted by opponents of the case abusing the court processes to stop the case being heard. One of the most absurd aspects of the case is that Minister of Labour is opposing an application to free her from being told what to do by private parties. She does not want the right to apply her mind to what she does. She does not, for instance, want the right to consider the wider socio-economic implications of her actions. She is opposing her right to think. Why? Her opposition defies logic.

For two years, some unions, bargaining councils and the minister have done all they can to derail and delay justice for the over 8 million destitute citizens forced by an unjust and unconstitutional law into what for many is lifetime unemployment. Most young South Africans have never had a job, and, if they are not liberated from their labour law chains, may never have one. The opponents of labour law reform are undermining the rule of law.

Herman Mashaba, the heroic entrepreneur leading the FMF challenge said, “I cannot wait to meet the minister in her office, or, if forced to do so, in open court, to debate this iniquitous law.”


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.

The FMF has a wealth of information in papers, articles and opinion pieces available on the website which can influence the public debate and present alternative policies to the people of South Africa. Please look at our website

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