Commercial contracting in the informal sector

9 Mar 2018 - 10:15

Insights into commercial contracting from South Africa’s informal sector

by Andrew Hutchison (UCT Commercial Law) and Nkanyiso Sibanda (UWC Private Law)

published in The Conversation 

What happens when African societal norms meet modern commercial practice? From boardrooms in Sandton to the cultural mash-up and the “popular economy” of a South African township, African business people of different ethnicities and world views are contracting on a daily basis.

Is there anything peculiarly “African” about this process, or are all business people the conventional profit-maximising individuals of free market economic theory? The answer here informs the related policy question as to whether South Africa needs to develop a dedicated indigenous law of contract.

It is often said that humanist values matter in the traditional African political economy, or that African communities run on a principle of ubuntu (humanness/communal solidarity). Sometimes this is contrasted with the liberal individualism of “Western” society. Is this valid?


IN ADDITION: For those wanting to read the full-length journal article, currently placed 7th on the top 10 list for the South African Journal on Human Rights, the article may be downloaded here on a free-to-access basis for a limited period of about two months from beginning March 2018.