SA's richest man calls Zuma's policy 'theft' - TechCentral

SA’s richest man calls Zuma’s policy ‘theft’

Johann Rupert

South Africa’s richest man, Johann Rupert, said on Wednesday that “radical economic transformation”, the policy championed by the President Jacob Zuma to reduce racial inequality, is no more than theft.

“Radical economic transformation is just a code word for theft,” Rupert said on the sidelines of Richemont’s annual general meeting. “That’s what’s happening there. They’re raiding the state’s coffers. And it’s public knowledge.”

South Africa’s former graft ombudsman alleged in a November report that Zuma allowed members of the wealthy Gupta family, who are in business with his son, to influence cabinet appointments and the award of state contracts. And a study released in March by a team of academics concluded that Zuma, the Guptas and their allies had orchestrated “a silent coup”, securing control over key positions in the state, enabling them to allegedly steal billions of rand. Zuma and the Guptas deny wrongdoing.

A trove of leaked e-mails dubbed the “Gupta leaks” has formed the basis for a raft of stories by South African media that have alleged corruption linked to the Guptas and government officials.

Zuma’s spokesman, Bongani Ngqulunga, said he was in a meeting when called for comment.

Bell Pottinger, the UK PR firm founded by an adviser to Margaret Thatcher lost clients and staff over its controversial work for the Gupta family in South Africa and was expelled from the UK’s PR trade body last week. It was slammed for stoking racial tensions by mounting a campaign targeting so-called white monopoly capital, and filed for administration on Tuesday. Its targets included Rupert, who has a net worth of US$8.2bn.

“They were hired to deflect attention from the public anger against what’s happening to the state’s finances,” said Rupert. “That was their role.”

Bell Pottinger

Bell Pottinger was formerly the PR company for Richemont, the maker of Cartier jewellery and IWC Schaffhausen timepieces.

Zuma’s second and final term as president is due to end in 2019, but his political clout is waning as he prepares to relinquish the leadership of the ANC in December and, depending on who replaces him, he could be forced to step down early. The party’s new leader will also be its presidential candidate in the next elections.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, a former labour union leader who helped draft the nation’s first democratic constitution and made a fortune in business, is favoured by many investors. His main rival is Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the former chairwoman of the African Union Commission and Zuma’s ex-wife.

On the campaign trail, Ramaphosa, 64, has emphasised the need for inclusive economic growth, while Dlamini-Zuma, 68, has echoed Zuma’s calls for “radical economic transformation” to address racially based income disparities that date back to white minority rule. Zuma and his allies in government have proposed expropriating white-owned farmland without compensation and boosting the proportion of mining assets that must by law be owned by black South Africans.

“When all those leaks came out, all those e-mails, you can’t deny stuff,” said Rupert. “Nobody’s ever denied the veracity of the Gupta leaks.”  — Reported by Corinne Gretler and Dylan Griffiths, with assistance from Amogelang Mbatha, (c) 2017 Bloomberg LP


  1. This was said many times over and over again, but to no avail. Zuma still does whatever he wants.

  2. Mr Rupert is wrong! To suggest that radical economic policy is tantamount to theft deflects from the truth and cannot be left unchallenged. The South African economy -during any of its bad times or good times- has always been, and continues to be white-owned. Mr Rupert’s family name is, rightly or wrongly, cited as a classic representation of this white monopoly capital. He has never sought to “correct” this impression; because it is just that. President Zuma, is months away from exiting the office and any candidate for the presidency will have to continue where he leaves off and will do even more in transforming this economy. You can brace yourselves for that. Radical economic economic transformation is a response to the intransigence and arrogance of such people like Mr Rupert who singularly rubbish the transformation policies of South Africa to the world. Being “the richest man” he should know that he stands to lose the most should the worst happen as this rising frustration reaches the tipping point. He is aware of the public anger against against the Gupta’s looting but totally oblivious to the white monopoly’s similar albeit centuries old looting. This (poorly biased) article does not help the discourse either; it leaves the reader with a false impression that corruption and looting is the preserve of Zuma allies and the Guptas. None is so blind…

  3. Embrace our Banana Republic on

    Seriously it has been more than 2 decades stop making excuses for not building your own black CAPITAL. In 2007 there were roughly 36 600 white South Africans that were dollar millionaires and 6 200 back millionaires by 2015 there were 21 200 white and 17 300 black millionaires. White millionaires decreased by 42% and black millionaires increased by 179%. And that was over an 8 year period. I am sure that our corrupt government and their Gupta buddies have further tipped the scales in the last 2 years. So clearly “white monopoly capital” can not be the problem, there has been no change for the average black person eventhoug the capital has shifted so much already. The ANC, Gupta’s and Bell Pottinger has really food you! Shame I feel sorry for you. Start think for yourself. Stop blindly believing your corrupt leaders and their distractions. It is time to see them for what they are. Thieves! Gangsters! Bullies! Oppressors!

  4. Embrace our Banana Republic on

    Yup. And that is how you respond when you have been proven wrong but cannot bare to acknowledge it.

  5. Well, well, well… You said nothing that warranted my response buddy! None of your posted words challenged my warning against Johann Rupert’s dismissive attitude and arrogant stance on radical economic transformation. Read what you wrote; you contributed no perspective of your own on the article; neither did you refute my expressed view that Mr Rupert singularly stands to lose the most if the economic stats quo remains unchanged. I am sure Rupert gets this; and I am sure you don’t. No time for incoherent, off the tangent diatribe of your type. For further attention Go to mommy.

  6. Rupert continues to exploit black people! The neocolony is expressed in this moment where a white land thief can shout from across the seas about RET, yet looting the wealth of this country for the benefit of a white minority.

  7. Shrewd white minds like Johann Rupert have always been well-aware of the fact that the evil theories of capitalism and White monopoly can’t be established without a propaganda channel. So they bought the top media houses in order to channelize their propaganda effectively.