Quarterly Review (Three) 2017.03


Progress through freedom

(Three) Quarterly Review
July 2016 – March 2017

The FMF’s projects for 2016/17 include: consumer rights, ECONOMIC FREEDOM / GROWTH, financial sector, HEALTHCARE, jobs creation / labour, LAND REFORM, rule of law, TRANSFORMATION, as well as ad hoc issues.

In September 2016, FMF director, Jasson Urbach, was selected to participate in the Atlas Network’s most prestigious training programme: The Think Tank MBA (TTMBA). Jasson was fortunate to be selected as an Alan Gibbs Fellow and his TTMBA related expenses were generously covered by Mr Gibbs. The TTMBA programme was held in Miami, Florida, and is the Atlas Leadership Academy’s flagship, a 10-day strategic planning programme for leaders within new and established think tanks. Participants draft a strategic plan for their organisation, gain customised leadership advice, and compete in a Campaign Challenge and the John Blundell Elevator Pitch Competition. Jasson Urbach’s elevator pitch on the FMF’s Khaya Lam Land Reform Project earned him 3rd place.

The FMF works hard to increase its media coverage and reach as wide an audience as possible with its message about the benefits of economic freedom, growth and the rule of law.

Between July 2016 and February 2017, the FMF’s WEBSITE ARTICLES, sent to our mailing list weekly, were republished on 29 occasions.

173 ARTICLES that quote or mention the FMF or originate from interviews or were written specifically for the media were published between July 2016 and February 2017. These include Leon Louw’s column in Business Day. The column is published every second Wednesday, and, since July 2016, has dealt with the following:

  • Why do we allow power freaks to exploit us?
  • State must face reality of job losses in mining
  • Pro-market miracle is not out of our reach
  • Leon Louw slipped date rape drug at conference banquet
  • Voters no longer ‘blindly loyal’ as SA heads for democratic maturity
  • Why rape and expropriation should not pit us against each other
  • Stagnation no reason for Eskom to celebrate
  • Will the right to vote become an obligation?
  • Healthcare despots march us to a bitter end
  • We have a new mechanism to make better laws – but it is not working
  • Stagnation no reason for Eskom to celebrate
  • Minimum wage is an idea of ...
  • Repeat after me: there are no free lunches
  • Is prohibition Aaron Motsoaledi’s end game?
  • Health minister uses illusion to talk up benefits of the NHI
  • Yes, Comrade Minister, yes indeed. And once more, with...
  • Spectrum policy will put telecom sector back in dark ages
  • Beware the ‘fascist incest fest’ that will be the WHO’s COP7 tobacco meeting
  • Techno-equality calls for cheaper access not lavish entitlement
  • Spare us the farcical forums and pretend policy powwows
  • ICT infrastructure plan could take irregular spending to new heights
  • Let us bust the myths and not believe the nonsense in 2017
  • How can Friedman be so obtuse about free market group?
  • Oxfam pulling the wool over eyes on real world wealth
  • Hate speech law may well curb all manner of freedoms

Also included between July 2016 and February 2017 are these media articles by FMF Director Eustace Davie:

  • The clash that led to Brexit runs deep – Business Day, Fast Moving, Biznews
  • Unemployment is a national emergency – just let them work – Acts, RDM
  • What explains the ‘Mauritian miracles’? – Conjoncture Magazine
  • Afrique du Sud: le mirage du “salaire decent” – Libreafrique
  • Can South Africa fix its schooling crisis? – Biznews
  • SA stumbles – Business Brief
  • SA’s economic slide – Financial Mail
  • A case of for better… or for worse? – The Star

…this one by FMF Director Temba Nolutshungu:

  • The inviolable sanctity of individual liberty – Times Live, Business Live, Biznews, CNBC Africa

…and these by FMF Director Jasson Urbach

  • Opinion: UN is barking up the wrong tree when it comes to access to drugs – Business Day
  • We all want to see better healthcare for all, but will NHI policies deliver? – Business Day
  • A buzzing economy helps keep malaria at bay – Business Day
  • Outdated exchange controls are crippling SA’s growth potential – Business Live
  • Countries that taxed calories. Why it was abolished in some, increased revenue in others – Biznews
  • Why raising the minimum wage won’t reduce inequality – The Star
  • Protectionist drugs policy will hurt region – Business Live
  • Minimum wage a danger – Mail & Guardian
  • NMW will have a negative effect – The Star
  • National minimum wage is morally wrong – IOL
  • Don’t sugar-coat the truth, this tax is bad news – Pressreader
  • German evidence shows SA is making a mistake on minimum wage – Business Day
  • Give automatic approval to drugs recognised in advanced countries – Business Day
  • Why is SA ignoring the abundance of sugary substitutes? – Fin24
  • Raising the minimum wage won’t reduce inequality – The Star
  • Why SA should take a leaf out of Egypt’s book on drug approvals – Business Live 
  • ‘Social solidarity’ stopped actuaries devising policies to suit low-income earners – Business Day
  • Medical aid: let public make own choices – The Star
  • National minimum wage is morally wrong – The Star
  • How Trump’s plan to cut UN funding would help the world’s poor – The Federalist

INTERVIEWS on radio and TV number 84 between July 2016 and February 2017.

The FMF hosted 10 MEDIA BRIEFINGS between July 2016 and March 2017 and aims to host one per month whenever possible. The briefings provide journalists with an opportunity to ask in-depth questions about the topic under review. See projects below for more information.

Each briefing is followed by a media advisory to over 1,000 editors and journalists. Additional ad hoc advisories mean the FMF distributed 20 MEDIA ADVISORIES between July 2016 and March 2017. See projects below for more information.

FMF is conscious of the power of SOCIAL MEDIA and we are working hard to reach more people via our website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube offerings.
In February 2017, for example, our website http://www.freemarketfoundation.com/ had 24,622 visits with 72,080 page views.  
In the right-hand column, the FMF’s website has three “windows” to our social media making it easier for our members and website visitors to access…
Twitter @FMFSouthAfrica: 2,442 followers
Facebook: 3,453 likes  
YouTube: 129 videos with 34,019 views

Far-reaching health controls with severe implications for consumers have been implemented or are under consideration. What is targeted? Products of greatest significance include tobacco, liquor, salt, sugar, traditional and faith healing, alternative medicines, baby food and junk food.  

The FMF submission on the Draft Liquor Amendment Bill 2016 can be read here.
A JOINT submission on the Draft Liquor Amendment Bill 2016 can be read here.

Media advisory (available on FMF website)
01-Dec: Concerned organisations submit joint comment on the draft Liquor Amendment Bill

The FMF is a co-publisher of the Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) index with Canadian based think tank Fraser Institute. The index, published annually, measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries are supportive of economic freedom. The foundations of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete and security of privately owned property. The findings in the report unambiguously support the fact that economic freedom is strongly related to prosperity and growth; countries that are economically free tend to grow faster and be more prosperous.    

FMF is very concerned about government’s plans to effectively nationalise mobile network infrastructure, which will be a disaster for technological advancement. Below are links to three brief videos dealing with telecoms policy. You will also note below that telecoms policy has been a major focus for several months.
Did you know there are more cell phones in SA than people?
In this video Xola Ntshinga notes how cell phone technology has changed in the past 20 years, the impact it has had on all South Africans and the costs involved in maintaining our mobile networks
Did you know data prices in SA are not as high as #datamustfall asserts?
In this video Xola Ntshinga details some of the issues impacting the price of data: load shedding, vandalism, licensing fees, constraints on spectrum allocation, state-mandated discounts to schools, hospitals, clinics, universities and FET’s - a cost that must be carried by paying consumers.
Did you know telecoms policy is nationalisation and expropriation in disguise?
In this video Xola Ntshinga interviews Adrian Schofield who outlines major concerns with ICT policy which proposes changing structures to increase government control rather than facilitate access, and introduces a Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN) never successfully implemented anywhere else in the world.

South Africa has had a tumultuous history since apartheid central planning ended in 1994. Unemployment has skyrocketed and economic growth, recently, has come to a virtual standstill. However, one of South Africa’s few success stories has been its Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) industry, which is widely regarded as being of first world quality with 98% mobile coverage and the recent speedy rollout of fibre. The South African government, however, with its new telecommunications policy, stands to reverse this progress, by seeking to re-introduce a monopoly into the sector and placing burdensome obligations on an industry which has only now begun to see a healthy proliferation of small and emerging service providers.

In The Real Digital Divide: South Africa’s Information and Communications Technology Policy the authors, Martin van Staden & Neil Emerick, tell of the success of the ICT industry and how government regulations should not act as a barrier to what has become the most viable vehicle for socio-economic transformation in South Africa.

The monograph can be downloaded here.

Media briefings
On 15 September, Neil Emerick presented Where does South Africa rank this year? at the worldwide launch of the Economic Freedom of the World: 2016 Annual Report co-published annually by the FMF in conjunction with Canada’s Fraser Institute. The report measures economic freedom by analysing the policies and institutions of 159 countries and territories. People living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy greater prosperity, more political and civil liberties, and longer lives. Of the 159 countries rated, South Africa placed 105, which ranks it near the bottom of the third quartile. The previous year, its rank was 96, and the year before that, 89. This remarkable loss of position in the world implies a loss of economic competitiveness, thereby exacerbating the lost opportunities for productive activity.

Neil’s presentation can be viewed here.

On 15 November, Leon Louw presented Data should stand – at least until the facts are known #DATAfacts vs #DataMustFall. Leon pointed out that the knee jerk endorsement by social and mainstream media and public opinion to the #DataMustFall frenzy has been astounding, and that government policy is being formed without regard for the facts behind the hype. Yet again we face potentially disastrous government intervention through regulation without a thorough interrogation of the facts and market realities.

Leon’s presentation can be viewed here.

On 30 November, Ivo Vegter, independent journalist, presented Nationalisation in disguise – should government fix prices? Ivo noted that internet policy impacts the whole of society and the economy. Internet access allows ideas to be spread and opinions to be voiced. South Africa is undergoing an information revolution. In the last ten years, the percentage of South Africans using the internet increased from 7.6% to 51.9%. South Africa’s digital media environment, currently comparatively free and open, is under threat by demands for price fixing and government’s new policy proposals.

Ivo’s presentation can be viewed here.

On 25 January, Dobek Pater of Africa Analysis and the FMF’s Leon Louw presented ICT policy will set back SA's ICT development by decades. They explained why the recently adopted ICT* White Paper poses a serious threat to SA’s telecoms industry with far reaching consequences for consumers and the economy. Mobile ICT is one of the country’s few success stories having delivered empowerment and quality national coverage and device ownership which exceeds that of other developing countries. Yet the ICT Policy White Paper proposes uprooting this successful model and replacing it with a rare, unproven and failed alternative. *Information and Communication Technologies

On 27 January, Adrian Schofield, Institute of IT Professionals of SA, and Leon Louw presented the above briefing in Cape Town.

Dobek and Leon’s presentation can be viewed here.

Evening events
On 27 July, Mike Schüssler presented South Africa does have a good news story – why does government hide it? Despite all the negative economic indicators from growth to high inflation, Mike suggested this country has a lot going for it. He noted that South Africa is a very different place to that of 1994 yet perpetual negativity abounds. If we carry on with this current mindset, we risk self-destruction and economic regression.

Mike’s presentation can be viewed here.

On 12 January, Yuri Maltsev presented Trump’s economics, Putin-Trump relationship and state of the US economy. Yuri discussed the election of Donald Trump as US President and speculated about whether the US would choose economic freedom or protectionism, Russia or Ukraine.

Yuri’s presentation can be viewed here.

Media advisories (available on FMF website)
12-Aug: Special economic zones need to be special and fully “offshore”, not business-as-usual
15-Sep: South Africa 105 among 159 jurisdictions
01-Nov: Data should stand – at least until the facts are known
10-Nov: Data must stand – at least until the facts are known
19-Jan: National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper
01-Feb: Radical government plans for mobile networks will harm users
27-Feb: Minister Cwele is disingenuous about telecoms industry consultation
28-Feb: Time allowed for public participation on ICC withdrawal inadequate
06-Mar: We cannot afford to experiment with our future
13-Mar: Impact Assessments keep politicians honest – perhaps why ministers avoid them?
22-Mar: To nationalise or compromise? Minister Cwele’s dilemma on ICT policy
29-Mar: The ICT Policy White Paper – pity DTPS included bad policies at the expense of good intentions

Presentation and participation – small business
On 22 September, Leon Louw attended and spoke at the Stakeholder Consultation Workshop on the National Small Business Act. The workshop sought to solicit input on the review of the Act. Leon also participated in a Panel Discussion comprising Minister Lindiwe Zulu, DG Edith Vries, and representatives from NAFCOC, an Informal Sector Association, and BUSA. The panel’s theme: What policy and legislative levers are required to achieve the envisioned targets of the New Development Plan wherein by 2030 SMMEs will contribute to 90% of new jobs and increase their share of GDP to almost 80%?

The purpose of the FMF’s Finance Policy Unit is to promote the application of free market principles to financial markets. Current actions focus on proposed “twin peaks” regulation of which the Financial Sector Regulation Bill (FSRB) is the architecture.

Whilst FMF did not win the war on the FSRB, we made some important inroads:

  1. Biggest win: Future levies on the industry will now be via a Money Bill through Parliament rather than via simple levies decided on in the backrooms of Twin Peaks.
  2. The making of “regulatory instruments” must be subject to referral to a wider range of stakeholders, including financial customers.
  3. New “regulatory instruments” must be submitted to Parliament either 30 days or 7 days in advance, depending on type.
  4. FMF forced a Socio Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA) to be produced – against the FSB’s expressed desires. It was an incompetent SEIA, but set a precedent for the future.

Leon Louw and Robert Vivian’s presentation on the FSRB SEIA can be viewed here.

Media briefing
On 24 August, Robert Vivian, Professor of Finance and Insurance, Wits School of Economic and Business Sciences, and Leon Louw presented Twin Peaks – Treasury’s SEIA study does not support the Bill. They argued that proposed Twin Peaks legislation will have harsh consequences for the South African Financial Services sector and that Twin Peaks architecture has failed elsewhere in the world. In addition, all laws must be subjected to a Socio Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA). The SEIA on the Financial Sector Regulation Bill (FSRB) appears to be a very poor and hurried attempt with many obvious flaws and large pieces of information missing. At an estimated cost for financial consumers of R4.8 billion per annum, Twin Peaks will prove to be the most far reaching and expensive regulatory system ever imposed on the financial sector.

Robert and Leon’s presentation can be viewed here.

The FMF comment to the Registrar of Financial Services Providers regarding the draft proposed Conduct of Business Report can be read here.

The FMF’s Health Policy Unit (HPU) contends and persistently provides evidence that in almost all sectors of the economy, free, open markets with competitive private enterprises serve consumer needs better and would make it possible for government to purchase higher quality healthcare at lower cost than if it attempts to provide the services itself. The HPU argues that patients are harmed when government dictates to healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, and other firms in the healthcare industry how to manage their affairs, or at what prices they should sell their products and services. The HPU’s mission is to increase access to high quality healthcare for all South Africans.

Media briefings
On 18 October, Anthea Jeffery of the IRR presented Options better than the NHI. Anthea contended that the government’s National Health Insurance (NHI), intended to bring ‘quality, affordable health services’ to all South Africans, will not fix the failing public health-care sector. Instead, it will weaken, if not destroy, private health services. Under the NHI, access to quality health care will diminish, rather than increase. The NHI will also help to drive out the middle class, so reducing the skills and tax base and making it harder still to reinvigorate the economy.

Anthea’s presentation can be viewed here.

On 15 March, Michael Settas of Xelus and Patrick Bracher of Norton Rose Fulbright presented Private healthcare on receiving end of toxic drip treatment…. Government has gazetted the demarcation regulations, which draw a line in the sand between medical expenses insurance and medical scheme benefits. The regulations show a blatant disregard for ordinary people’s right to access healthcare and are based on the dubious principle that health insurance products are harmful to the medical schemes industry. Consumers who are prohibited from entering into private arrangements with medical insurance companies and who cannot afford medical scheme membership now find themselves forced to rely on an already over-burdened public sector.

Michael and Patrick’s presentation can be viewed here.

Media advisories (available on FMF website)
10-Nov: Alternatives exist to the catastrophic NHI proposal
21-Mar: NHI Demarcations Regulations – two million people set to lose medical insurance overnight

The FMF submission to the Davis Tax Committee on the funding of the National Health Insurance (NHI) can be viewed here.

FMF solutions to healthcare for the indigent
The FMF’s alternative solutions to improved health care for all include:

  • Privatising the provision of health care – via giveaways of public hospitals to those who work in them or sales to those who wish to buy them.
  • Financing health care for the poor – preferably via state-sponsored vouchers, which the indigent can spend where they choose.
  • Encouraging more private hospitals by deregulating the industry and eliminating Certificates of Need.
  • Reducing prices and increasing health care quality through increased competition.
  • Training more doctors and nurses (the number of doctors is limited to 1,300 a year; this number has remained the same since the 1970s despite increases in the population and the disease burden).
  • Allowing the private sector to train doctors and nurses.
  • Encouraging income-producing medical tourism.
  • Retaining skilled South Africans and attracting others by removing the limit on skilled foreign doctors.
  • Deregulating medical schemes so they can offer their clients exactly what they want.
  • Deregulating pharmacies.
  • Removing price controls, which send mixed messages to the industry.
  • Speeding up registration of clinical trials.
  • Giving those who pay for their own health care a tax deduction.

South Africa has an unacceptably high and rising level of unemployment. One of the most important issues facing SA today is improving conditions for greater labour absorption. For government to achieve its stated objective of reducing unemployment and stimulating growth, it must urgently address labour market policies and laws that exacerbate unemployment. A significant part of our current work involves educating the public about the consequences of adopting a National Minimum Wage (NMW). There are currently an estimated 9 million unemployed – a NMW will just make it that much harder for these individuals to climb onto the first rung of the economic ladder.

Media briefing
On 4 October, Leon Louw presented How best to add to the 9 MILLION unemployed? Introduce a National Minimum Wage. While there were claims that few jobs would be lost with the introduction of a NMW, Leon presented evidence and argued that: People buy less of whatever costs more, including labour; Imposing a national minimum wage under current circumstances verges on insanity; If  a national minimum wage is imposed, large-scale job losses among low-income workers will be inevitable; If a national minimum wage is imposed, the currently jobless will remain jobless; Laws that raise the cost of employment cause unemployment and destitution; For millions of South Africans the choice is not between a low-paid job and a decent wage, but between a low-paid job and no job; The best and most sustainable way to raise wages is to have full employment, which is entirely dependent on growth, growth, growth; If  South Africa is foolish enough to introduce a national minimum wage, it MUST also introduce an “opt-out” option for those who would prefer to earn something rather than nothing.

Leon’s presentation can be viewed here.

Oral evidence
On 8 July, Leon Louw led oral evidence on Job Losses in the Mining Sector to the Minerals and Petroleum Board. The board was provided with the following documentation covering previous FMF work in this sector:

  1. Evidence to the parliamentary portfolio committee on mineral and energy affairs: Comment on the green paper “A minerals and mining policy for south Africa”
  2. Submission on the Mineral Development Bill
  3. Submission on Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Bill
  4. Submission on Minerals and Petroleum Royalty Bill
  5. Submission on Precious Metals and Diamonds General Amendment Bill
  6. Submission on Diamonds Amendment Bill
  7. Submission on National Development Plan: Economy and Employment
  8. Submission on Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill
  9. Occasional Paper on Diamonds: The Competitive Cartel
  10. Occasional Paper on Undermining mineral rights: An international comparison

Media advisory (available on FMF website)
12-Jul: Make investment in mining more attractive to avoid job losses – not beneficiation

LAND REFORM – Khaya Lam (My Home) Land Reform Project
“This is one of those rare opportunities where one can get involved in a project with a huge element of heart and compassion; a project that brings hope in the future to your fellow South Africans” – Christo Wiese

FMF believes that secure property rights represent one of the most important requirements for the protection of both economic freedom and civil liberties. FMF proposes that:

  1. All black occupied council-owned urban plots be converted to full ownership (“freehold”) – FMF is working with Ngwathe municipality to convert 20,000 plots to full freehold.
  2. Superfluous government land be redistributed to the victims of apartheid as a substantial once-off compensation.
  3. Pre-emptive clauses be removed from existing and future RDP titles.
  4. In tribal areas, communities be allowed to grant private title over homesteads while maintaining communal rights over arable land.
  5. The Subdivision of Agricultural Land Act, 1970 be repealed to make it easier for poor individuals to finance smaller, more affordable plots of land.

Khaya Lam is an FMF initiative that seeks to reverse the evils of apartheid. FMF Executive Director, Leon Louw, notes: “Black land deprivation was probably the single worst element of apartheid. Since apartheid ended, little has changed. In South Africa today there are still between 5 and 7 million black families living as tenants or without ownership rights in houses they have lived in for generations. There has been no systematic conversion of these “council owned” and “traditional community” properties to full unrestricted ownership. The prospects for economic upliftment throughout South Africa through the Khaya Lam national property titling project are exciting and immense”.

Under the project management of Perry Feldman, the FMF’s Khaya Lam project is gaining momentum. In addition to Ngwathe (FMF’s pilot project), FMF has signed Memorandums of Understanding with Cape Town, Grabouw, Graaff-Reinet and Stellenbosch.

Transfers completed and in progress
Of the 4,883 transfers for which FMF has raised funding to date, 1,288 title deeds have been registered and lodged in the deeds office. As each property transferred from council to legal resident is worth on average R100,000, this latter figure represents a boost into the economy of over R128 million – now there’s bang for your buck. (See donation option below.)

The transfers in progress include properties in Ngwathe, Cape Town, Grabouw, Stellenbosch, Graaff-Reinet, and within the last week, Hluhluwe.

Your property, your rights pamphlet
FMF has finalised an education pamphlet accompany title deeds received at handover ceremonies. The pamphlet explains inter alia what a title deed is and why it is important, why you should draft a will, how to buy and sell property, and what the constitution says about property rights. Currently the pamphlet is available in English, but Afrikaans, Sotho and Zulu versions are in progress.

Evening event
On 29 March, Terry Markman, Perry Feldman and Leon Louw presented Land reform without expropriation. Terry Markman explained why it took three years to transfer the first 100 properties to Ngwathe residents via the FMF’s Khaya Lam (My Home) Land Reform Project. Perry Feldman outlined the downs (bureaucratic regulations and delays) and the ups (happy faces and security at last) of Khaya Lam today. Leon Louw explained the unique complexities of property titling in Alexandra township and outlined recent successes following almost two decades of work to resolve conflicts and claims.

Leon, Terry and Perry’s presentation can be viewed here.

Media advisory (available on FMF website)
11-Oct: Khaya Lam Land Reform Project grants over 1,000 title deeds since project inception

If you would like to sponsor a title deed at just R2,100 (or a part title deed), please email gailday@fmfsa.org or do so directly through our website here.

The Rule of Law is a Founding Provision of South Africa’s Constitution but this potentially powerful brake on the executive branch of government has not been playing its proper deterring role. One of the reasons is likely to be that most South Africans do not have an adequate understanding of the true meaning of the rule of law. This is not unique to South Africa but true of many countries, where, in some cases, it does not make as much difference to their laws as it does in this country, where any proposed legislation that is in conflict with the rule of law is ipso facto unconstitutional.

You can watch our introductory video to the Rule of Law here.

Analysing South Africa’s legislation
The FMF’s Rule of Law Project has begun a process of identifying legislation, both pre- and post-1994, that violates the essential Rule of Law provision.

Media briefing
On 15 February, Rex van Schalkwyk presented From ridicule to prison: Nowhere to hide from the Hate Speech Bill. The Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill proposes criminalising everything from actual hate speech, to harmless insults or comedic expression. The language of the Bill is confusing and violates the rule of law because the provisions are not clear or easily understandable. The Bill introduces uncertainty – it will often depend entirely on the emotions or feelings of the aggrieved party whether or not there will be a prosecution. The Constitution protects race, ethnicity, gender, and religion from the advocacy of hatred with the intention to cause harm. The Hate Speech Bill goes further providing that you may not ‘insult’ someone with the intention to bring them into ‘contempt’ or ‘ridicule’, based on 17 protected characteristics.

Rex’s presentation can be viewed here.

Evening events
On 21 July, Leon Louw presented Socio Economic Impact Assessments. In January 2016, President Jacob Zuma told the World Economic Forum in Davos: “Government also decided that from 1 September 2015 all future legislation and regulations will be subject to a Socio Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA) before being passed”, noting that impact assessments will promote greater policy coordination. The President’s statement followed the May 2015 adoption by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) of the Guidelines for Socio Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS). Leon explained why impact assessments are essential; what’s right and what’s wrong about the existing guidelines; how to ensure an impact assessment is honest; why law-making should include constitutionality, consistency, clarity AND feasibility; and why laws should be consistent with the rule of law, rather than the discretionary, subjective or arbitrary “rule of man”.

Leon’s presentation can be viewed here.

On 29 September, Mark Oppenheimer presented Free speech: A vanishing right. Mark argued that the space to express unpopular views is diminishing at an alarming rate. Liberal students, academics and journalists are being victimised and isolated by the regressive left. Mark outlined the importance of the right to freedom of expression and strategic ways of combating the threats to its existence. He dealt with the following:

  • The Constitution and free speech
  • Hate speech vs hateful speech
  • Protecting offensive art
  • How to fight for freedom

Mark’s presentation can be viewed here.

On 3 March, Gareth Cliff presented Internet access and free speech. Gareth talked about the conflict that arises from our connected, internet-savvy society. There are more smartphones in South Africa than there are people and the hunger for data is insatiable. People go online not only for information, entertainment and inspiration, but also increasingly to share their own opinions with the world. This invariably leads to conflicts about what opinions are and aren’t acceptable – and to a blurring of the lines between hate speech, free speech and offensive speech. Gareth talked about freedom on the internet, getting into trouble, and why freedom of expression is important, and how the fight never ends.

Gareth’s presentation can be viewed here.

Media advisories (available on FMF website)
26-Jul: The good, bad and unfinished business – SEIAs
12-Aug: Expropriation Bill legally flawed and dangerous to SA’s prosperity


  • The FMF submission on the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill can be read here
  • In addition, FMF prepared a submission on behalf of comedians, cartoonists, and satirists.
  • Also Gary Moore, a South African attorney resident in Australia, submitted a comment at the FMF’s suggestion.

Some argue that freedom from apartheid has not made a substantial impact on black advancement. Others argue that for blacks to succeed they need government assistance through Reconstruction and Development Policies and Black Economic Empowerment legislation. Still others are of the view that economic freedom and growth, the development of a strong legal framework, and good infrastructure and security, are all that is required for the realisation of human potential.

Evening events
On 17 August, Mervyn King presented Major shifts in the corporate world and the Sustainable Development Goals. Mervyn discussed the changing landscape of corporate and business ethics and how businesses must adapt to achieve sustainable, long-term goals.

Mervyn’s presentation can be viewed here.

On 26 October, Andrew Charman presented Amplifying entrepreneurship in the township context: Opportunities and constraints. Over a five-year period, the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation collected original data on the township economy. In nine sites across four provinces SLF identified over 10,000  micro-enterprises and conducted 3,500 firm surveys. Drawing on this knowledge, Andrew reflected on the opportunities and constraints for enhancing township entrepreneurship. The core message is that the public sector needs to embrace a more low-geared approach, focusing on reducing obstacles to entrepreneurial activities rather than on ambitious plans to industrialise and modernise.

Andrew’s presentation can be viewed here.


High Level Panel Submissions
Parliament appointed a High Level Panel whose mandate it is to investigate the impact of legislation in respect of the following areas:

  1. The triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality;
  2. The creation of, and equitable distribution of wealth;
  3. Land reform, restitution, redistribution and security of tenure;
  4. Nation building and social cohesion.

The High Level Panel aims to review legislation to identify laws that require strengthening, review and/or amending. The outcome of the work of the High Level Panel will be a package of recommendations that will be considered by the legislative sector.

The High Level Panel called for submissions from the public by 20 August 2016.

The FMF made 17 submissions on the following:

  1. Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE): Job creation and economic development implications of financing empowerment transactions
  2. Education Policy
  3. Electricity Regulation Act and National Energy Regulator Act
  4. Electricity – Overview
  5. Exchange Control Regulations
  6. Expropriation (Act)
  7. Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act (FAIS)  
  8. National Health Act
  9. Medical Schemes Act
  10. Medical Price Control Regulations
  11. Value-Added Tax on Medical Products
  12. Basic Conditions of Employment Act
  13. Labour Relations Act
  14. Land reform – overview
  15. Rule of Law, founding provision in the Constitution
  16. Special Economic Zones Act
  17. Tax

The FMF also assisted four allies with their submissions to the panel.

Media advisory (available on FMF website)
30-Aug: FMF makes 17 submissions to Parliament’s High Level Panel on impact of key legislation

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