Lawrence Mavundla, struggle veteran, entrepreneur and champion of small businesses, has been elected as Chairman of the Free Market Foundation at the first meeting of the new board following its election at the FMF 2020 AGM on 29 July. He is supported as deputy by seasoned marketing, communications and good governance professional, Johanna McDowall, a member of the FMF Board for nearly 10 years.
Founder and past President of the African Council of Hawkers and Informal Businesses (ACHIB), past Deputy President and Chairman of the Black Business Council (BBC) and past President of leading business organisation, National African Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc). Mavundla has been a small and informal business activist for over three decades.

He was involved in the formation of two trade unions and various sectoral business organisations He is the author of ‘Freedom to be Enterprising’ and a contributor to ‘Let the Consumer Decide’.

Mavundla has been closely associated with the FMF for nearly 40 years from when 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 exceptional contribution to the cause of Economic Freedom.

Speaking on his appointment as FMF chairman, Mavundla said, “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.

The Free Market Foundation is even more relevant today when we ask “Why , after years of democracy, are so many black people 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 spears of life. The urgent need now is to unlock the economy and encourage local and international investors by removing unnecessary restrictions, regulations and legislation.”

Deputy chair 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 10 years on the board of the SA Institute of Directors (IOD).

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. She is founder and CEO of Independent Agency Search (IAS).

McDowell said, “I am deeply honoured to have been elected as Deputy Chairman of this organisation and at a time where the importance of the our projects cannot be overstated. I intend to serve in the best interest of all of our members.”

Commenting on the appointments, FMF CEO Leon Louw said, “We are privileged to have these two high calibre people as Chair and Deputy Chair and to have such a splendid team serving the FMF and the cause of liberty and prosperity. We face our country’s greatest crisis since apartheid. More than ever the FMF needs an excellent board and management team.

“We are all committed to the FMF 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.”

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