VIVA Liberty Competition 2012

The winners of the 2012 VIVA Liberty awards (and a fully paid trip to Freedomfest in Las Vegas, courtesy of Bob Glenister) are:

Paul Hjul, writing on Land Reform
Jasson Urbach, writing on Health Care Reform
Mark Heaton, writing on Carbon Credits
Trevor Watkins and Leon Louw were nominated by Bob to attend this year’s event. Unfortunately, Leon is not able to make it.
Congratulations to you all, and thank you to all the entrants for the significant effort expended in a set of very high quality submissions.
The submissions may be downloaded here:

You can download the following documents simply by clicking on them.

Invitation VIVA Liberty 2012 (The invitation and description of the competition, also reproduced below.

T+C VIVA Liberty 2012 (The terms and conditions of entry into the competition)

T+C Winners VIVA Liberty 2012 (The terms and conditions which will apply to the winners of the competition).

Comment on the Independent System and Market Operator Bill Final (Sample of a submission made by the Free Market Foundation)

Invitation to compete in the VIVA Liberty Competition 2012

The annual Las Vegas FreedomFest is arguably the world’s greatest pro-liberty event. Once again, philanthropist Hugh Glenister will sponsor four South Africans to this conference, two nominated delegates and two award winners. As before, prospects must make submissions for judging by Trevor Watkins and Leon Louw, whose recommendations will go to Hugh, who will make the final decision.

Since the purpose of this generous award is to identify people whose ideas and/or work might make a material contribution to the promotion of liberty in South Africa, the organisers have decided on something that makes a direct contribution to the local course of events.

Applicants are required to write a motivation for the reform of any law or policy at any level of government which will enhance individual liberty in South Africa, and to make actual submissions to the government, sending copies to us. The winners will be those who we judge to have made the most compelling submissions.

Submissions may be in response to the government’s publication of proposed laws or policies, or for the reform of any existing law or policy. In the normal course of events anyone can make a submission on any matter at any time. Obviously, submissions before the deadline in response to calls for comment are most likely to make a difference, whereas a submission for reform in general can be effective if extraordinarily well-presented. Submissions need to be in writing, and may be accompanied by additional effort, such as appearing at a hearing or meeting and lobbying role-players.

The idea is for entrants to do something practical, and they will be judged on the likelihood, in the judges opinion, of their submission being successful.

Submission can be of any length. Often short concise submissions are best, yet at times, more elaborate evidence is more compelling. The Free Market Foundation, for instance, makes submissions ranging from one or two pages to nearly one thousand pages.

Submissions can be on any law or policy at any level of government. A well-presented case against an interventionistic local government by-law in a small village will be as favourably considered as one on some major policy issue, such as the National Development Plan (NDP).

Submissions do not need to be confined to the merits and demerits of matters, but may address constitutionality as well. Mere unconstitutionality will not be enough for the purposes of the competition.  That which is unconstitutional must also be anti-liberty in some sense.

This is an exercise in being practical, in making a real difference in the real world, in actually influencing real policy-makers regarding real policies. Arguments and evidence may be based on any sound reasoning, such as economics, civil liberties, jurisprudence, constitutionality, equity, common sense or the like.  But they must be maximally likely to make a difference. The idea is:

  1.  for entrants to acquire practical experience of how easy it is for ordinary citizens to influence the law-making process; and
  2. to encourage entrants to contribute to policy formulation in future.

As with all submissions made by ordinary citizens and organisations, submissions can be accompanied by supporting materials such as press releases, letters to the press, articles, internet media, etc. in the hope that they will reach wider audiences and influence the climate of opinion.

Policies and proposed law under consideration, and deadlines for submissions, are readily available on the internet especially on government (national, provincial and local) websites.

Useful sites to visit include:


Provincial and local governments are also easy to find. The NDP and ancillary documents, and details for submissions, can be found here:

Suggestions and illustrative examples for consideration are:

  • The NDP (National Development Plan)
  • The Hawks Bill, which seems to be unconstitutional in key respects.
  • The proposed anti-tobacco regulations (in that we have substantive law being made by the executive instead of the legislature)   (Department of Health website)
  • Exchange control, which is both bad policy and bad law.
  • Wage determinations, where we have A and B entering into an agreement which is binding with the full force of law as if legislated by parliament on C.
  • The National Credit Act (NCA)
  • The Consumer Protection Act (CPA).
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