Multi-party talks: SA’s future depends on embracing the free market, limited govt
David Ansara, CEO of the Free Market Foundation

"We welcome the values of freedom, political decentralisation, an open market economy, and non-racialism as among the founding values of the Multi-Party Charter." - David Ansara, CEO of the Free Market Foundation

As the Multi-Party National Convention enters its second day of talks, the Free Market Foundation (FMF) is encouraged by reports that the participating political parties have come to agree on a desirable set of values ahead of the 2024 elections. The FMF also welcomes the undertaking to reject parties that are committed to the socialist National Democratic Revolution (NDR).

Last night, Professor William Gumede, independent chairperson of the convention, noted in a statement that the parties had agreed on a shared vision “to form a new government to build a just, inclusive and prosperous South Africa based on opportunity, freedom, and security for all its citizens.”

Among the Multi-Party Charter for South Africa’s ‘Shared Governing Principles’ are included, ‘decentralising power to the lowest effective level of government’, a commitment to 'redress our unjust past by promoting nonracialism and unity in our diversity’, and 'an open market economy’.

In the FMF’s view, an open market economy means greater levels of choice for ordinary South Africans, much more competitiveness and market-based solutions, including deregulation of the economy and privatisation of state functions and enterprises.

"We especially welcome the fact that the Multi-Party Charter has explicitly outlined freedom as one of its values. Freedom is often downplayed in the political discourse in South Africa, yet it is essential for the formation of a prosperous and peaceful society”, said David Ansara, CEO of the Free Market Foundation.

Freedom is a value entrenched as a founding provision in the Constitution, yet most government policies ignore freedom and instead emphasise equity and central direction. This has pushed South Africa into a socialist direction where freedom as an economic driver has played less and less of a role, in favour of redistributionism and the politics of grievance.

Nearly 30 years into the democratic dispensation, it is abundantly clear to all that the time has come to turn away from the socialist ideas and values that undermine freedom of enterprise and the pursuit of prosperity.

“The Free Market Foundation is a non-partisan organisation, and our interest lies in promoting freedom in South Africa. As such, we would want to see like-minded political parties coalesce around the values that will lead to a future where all South Africans can prosper and thrive”, Ansara concluded.