Crony capitalism is a worldwide phenomenon, and in South Africa there apparently is quite a lot of it.
Enter Herman Mashaba a businessman, a free market activist, and opponent of cronyism. Born into poverty he understands why it is so important for markets and prices to be free. With free markets come opportunities for the disadvantaged. Businesses are born and grow and wealth is created. In a dynamic economy not retarded by crony capitalism people are able to actualize their potential. If however big business and unions control the levers of government and manipulate the economy in their favor, the poor are locked out.
In free economies the poor have a chance. In highly regulated and crony economies, the chances for success are much fewer for those with the least.
Mr Mashaba, 54, is one of the most inspiring examples of entrepreneurship in South Africa.
He was raised in a small village, Ga-Ramotse in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, began selling crockery in the townships and then hair products from the boot of a car. This led to the start of his hair products company, Black Like Me, which became a successful multinational and made him millions.
He did it in the face of a battery of restrictive apartheid laws, relying on nothing but extraordinary energy, initiative, self-belief and chutzpah.
He has been an outspoken and uncompromising champion of the free market in the new South Africa. His great strength is that he is beholden to no political party or politician. He believes the opposite is true of too many business leaders in South Africa.