'Return land or we'll take it back' - BLF
Cape Town – A protest march to Remgro in Stellenbosch on Friday was a warning to billionaire businessman Johann Rupert and others, Black First Land First (BLF) said.
"This is just a warning that we are coming for the land," said Western Cape convenor Ncedisa Mpemnyama outside the office park (see memorandum here).
They were preparing members to take back land in Franschhoek, where they believed Rupert owned at least 14 farms.
"We are also coming for Christo Wiese and Whitey Basson, because white monopoly capital is an integrated system where they control everything."
Mpemnyama said that all of South Africa's problems could be solved with land because it provided jobs, security and "all those things that make life worth living".
BLF marched with the provincial ANC Youth League and the MK Inkululeko Foundation, whose members arrived, dressed in army fatigues, in an overnight bus from Johannesburg.
Around 150 protesters demanded that Rupert come out to meet them, calling him names such as "President of White Monopoly Capital", "Rupey" and "Thief".
A Remgro representative had disappeared back into the office park with two memorandums by the time BLF arrived with theirs, causing much consternation.
Rupert is the chairperson of Remgro, which has a shareholding in Unilever*.
The margarine, washing powder, soup and body products that protesters scattered and stomped on the ground were made by Unilever.
In BLF’s memorandum, they demanded that Rupert "repent" by returning the land and Remgro to the people.
They also wanted him to pay reparations for "monies stolen from SARB, illicit transfers, devaluing currency". They also intend opening a case of racism at the Equality Court and laying a criminal charge of high treason.
MK Inkululeko Foundation convenor Sparks Motseki has also threatened to take Rupert to court if he does not retract his remarks about radical economic transformation within seven days.
Rupert had reportedly said that radical economic transformation was "just a code word for theft".
'Mainly dominated by white males'
Speaking on the sidelines of Richemont's annual general meeting in Geneva, Bloomberg also reported him as saying: "That's what's happening there. They're raiding the state’s coffers. And it’s public knowledge."
The Western Cape ANCYL said the remarks were a clear an indication of business arrogance, which was "mainly dominated by white males", whom they felt disregarded the country's political leaders.
The league committed to working with others to dismantle white monopoly capital.
Mpemnyama was cautiously optimistic about this teamwork, saying they would support the ANC if they were sincere about a radical programme.
He said the ruling party often did "wishy washy things", where they "bite this side and blow air this side".
Mpemnyama said they were ready to put their lives on the line.
"The time for 'nice-nice' for people who are killing youths [is over]. Our youths are eating nyaope," he said.
*Unilever was set to acquire Remgro’s 25.75% shareholding in Unilever South Africa Holdings (Pty) Ltd (Unilever SA) in exchange for the Unilever Spreads business in Southern Africa, as well as a cash consideration of R4.9bn, representing a transaction value of R11.9bn.