The Free Market Foundation (FMF) has elected Lawrence Mavundla chairperson during its first meeting of the new board following its election at the FMF annual general meeting on July 29.
He is supported by deputy chairperson Johanna McDowall.
Mavundla is a struggle veteran, entrepreneur and champion of small businesses, while McDowall is a seasoned marketing, communications and good governance professional, having been a member of the FMF board for nearly ten years. She is also Independent Agency Search founder and CEO.
Mavundla was also African Council of Hawkers and Informal Businesses founder and president, Black Business Council deputy president and chairperson and National African Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry president. He has been a small and informal business activist for over three decades.
In addition, Mavundla was involved in the formation of two trade unions and various sectoral business organisations, as well as being the author of Freedom to be Enterprising and a contributor to Let the Consumer Decide.
He has been closely associated with the FMF for nearly 40 years from the time he worked with FMF CEO Leon Louw on the streets of Johannesburg where they defended the rights of street vendors against police harassment and illegal arrest. In 1988, he was awarded the FMF’s Free Market Award for his contribution to the cause of economic freedom.
“I am honoured to follow in the steps of such esteemed predecessors as Michael O’Dowd and Herman Mashaba, and serve under the presidency of Dr Sam Motsuenyane,” says Mavundla.
According to Mavundla, the FMF is even more relevant today because, after years of democracy, he says many people are still excluded from the mainstream economy.
“Despite many government policies, our economy is still growing at less than 1%. Unemployment is nearing 50% especially among the youth. FMF policy proposals cut across all spheres of life. The urgent need now is to unlock the economy and encourage local and international investors by removing unnecessary restrictions, regulations and legislation.”
McDowell is a marketing professional with more than 40 years' experience in advertising, public relations and marketing communications in South Africa and the UK. She has been a company director for more than 30 years, including more than ten years on the board of the South African Institute of Directors.
According to the FMF, her knowledge of good governance, correct procedure and fiduciary responsibility will help the FMF improve its performance in these areas. This, together with her marketing and communications expertise, will provide the FMF with strategic and practical leadership and direction.
McDowall says she is deeply honoured to have been elected deputy chairperson of the FMF at a time “where the importance of our projects cannot be overstated. I intend to serve in the best interest of all of our members.”
Louw comments that the FMF is privileged to have these two high-calibre people as chairperson and deputy. “We face our country’s greatest crisis since apartheid. More than ever the FMF needs an excellent board and management team.”
He adds that the FMF team is committed to the organisation being a rejuvenated, modern, relevant and focused policy institute that guides the government and all parties towards policies that deliver growth, jobs, freedom and prosperity for all.