Free Market Foundation pays tribute to Honorary Life Vice President, Dr Sam Motsuenyane

FMF Press Release (Economy Growth Business 1)

30 April 2024

The Free Market Foundation (FMF) extends its heartfelt condolences to those who were close to Dr Sam Mokgethi Motsuenyane, who passed away yesterday, 29 April 2024. Dr Motsuenyane was the FMF’s Honorary Life Vice President and a stalwart in South Africa’s commercial environment.

On 13 November 2013, Dr Motsuenyane said: “To a great extent repressive laws can be construed as the unintended outcome of the considerable pressure exerted on the government by trade unions. Broad-based black economic empowerment and meaningful economic transformation are possible only at substantially higher rates of economic growth.”

Dr Motsuenyane was delivering his address, “What should be done to create a climate conducive to the development of black industrialists?”, after receiving the FMF’s fourth Luminary Award* “… for outstanding individual enterprise excellence and leadership, consistently demonstrated over many decades in overcoming adversity and inspiring the people of South Africa.”

Motsuenyane, former President of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NAFCOC) from 1968 to 1992, told a packed FMF audience that the government should deliver on promises to lower the burden of overregulation and red tape on business to create an enabling climate for growth and development. 

“NAFCOC became an organisational member of the FMF in 1977. It was then that Dr Motsuenyane became active in influencing the work of the FMF,” says Eustace Davie, FMF Director. “In acknowledgment of this, Dr Sam was awarded the 1985 Free Market Award**.”

FMF Director Temba Nolutshungu added that, “Dr Motsuenyane was elected President of the FMF in 2002. In 2012, he stepped into a new role, that of Honorary Life Vice President, saying he wanted to leave the role of President for someone younger and more active.”

Following his retirement from the NAFCOC presidency in 1992, Motsuenyane served on several special commissions such as the Melamet Commission on the Remuneration of Politicians (1994), and the King Committee on Corporate Governance (1993-94). He also led the ANC-appointed Motsuenyane Commission into the violation of human rights at camps for SA exiles in neighbouring African countries.

“Dr Motsuenyane spent most of his adult life deeply involved in the struggle to liberate the black community in South Africa from political and economic oppression. He will be sorely missed by all those at the FMF who benefited from his wisdom, clear-sightedness and courage,” says Nolutshungu.

Nolutshungu remembers Motsuenyane as a kind, holistic man, saying, “He brings to mind the words of Nan Witcomb: ‘We do not have to rely on memories to recapture the spirit of those we loved and lost – they live within our souls in some perfect sanctuary which even death cannot destroy’.”


Press enquiries

Anneke Burns
FMF Publicist
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* About the FMF Luminary Award

The FMF Luminary Award is given to those unique individuals who inspire others in a particular sphere of life. These individuals are elected as FMF Luminaries to memorialise their achievements as an example to all. 

View Dr Motsuenyane’s address here

** About the Free Market Award

Between 1980 and 2004, the FMF presented the prestigious Free Market Award to 24 people who made an exceptional contribution to the cause of economic freedom. The recipients were:

1980     – Symond Fiske

1981     – Prof Brian Kantor

1982     – Prof Johannes Gildenhuys

1983     – Prof Geert de Wet

1984     – Prof Nic Swart & Terry Markman

1985     – Dr Sam Motsuenyane

1986     – Ian Hetherington

1987     – Marc Swanepoel

1988     – Lawrence Mavundla

1989     – Jan Buter

1990     – Prof Duncan Reekie

1991     – Nonia Ramphomane

1992     – Nils Dittmer

1993     – Prof Louise Tager

1994     – Prof Eckart Kassier

1995     – Dr John Ledger

1996     – Nigel Bruce

1997     – Michael Jwambi

1998     – Pikkie van den Heever

1999     – Johann Rupert

2000     – Sir Ketumile Masire

2002     – Derek Hanekom

2003     – Jacob Makwetla

2004     – Herman Mashaba


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