On 1 August 2012 Niels Jak presented a lecture at the University of Stellenbosch Law Faculty to the Socio-Economic Rights and Administrative Justice Research Group (SERAJ) and the African Public Procurement Regulation Research Unit (APPRU), on the regulation and organisation of semi-public entities. These entities could be described as private bodies exercising a public function (similar to utility providers) and other entities institutionally connected to the state (such as state-owned enterprises). The lecture centred around the regulation of these entities in the Netherlands, with a focus on the infiltration of public law norms into the private sphere. The complex regulatory challenges posed by these entities were discussed. In particular the issues of public accountability, applicability of public law norms and democratic legitimacy were raised and explored. The lecture also highlighted a number of similar problems posed by the South African regulatory environment and it became evident that South Africa could take significant guidance from developments in the Netherlands.
Niels Jak is a lecturer and PhD candidate at the Vrije University Amsterdam, where he teaches Administrative Law and Government Corporation Law. He conducts research under the auspices of the VU University Amsterdam Centre for Law and Governances programme on Balancing Public and Private Interests. He is currently visiting the Stellenbosch University while conducting comparative research into semi-public organisations in South Africa.