EFF's Floyd Shivambu and the secret Rupert rendezvous
21 July 2019
EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu spent an afternoon at an exclusive wine estate in Stellenbosch discussing potential business plans with one of South Africa's richest men, Johann Rupert.
In the past, the EFF labelled Rupert "the enemy" and named him as the face of white monopoly capital (WMC) who had become rich by exploiting poor black South Africans, a view Shivambu told News24 he shared.
Despite the party and Shivambu's ideological stance, over an expensive lunch at the exclusive Tokara wine estate, he asked Remgro chair Rupert and the founder of FirstRand Bank, Gerrit "GT" Ferreira, for assistance to build a hospital in Limpopo.
Afterward, Shivambu accompanied the CEO of Remgro, Jannie Durand, to the Remgro-owned Fleur du Cap wine estate.
These shocking revelations of Shivambu's secret rendezvous with Rupert, whom the party has vilified in the past, are contained in a new book by News24 assistant editor Pieter du Toit titled The Stellenbosch Mafia: Inside the Billionaire ' s Club.
Du Toit delves deep into a world almost exclusively occupied by the country's richest men.
The book promises to reveal who these fabulously wealthy individuals are and what influence they exert not only on Stellenbosch, but more broadly, on South African society.
Du Toit also reveals how Shivambu, one of the most vociferous critics of white capital, is apparently far closer to Rupert than he would have the country believe.
Shivambu, when approached on Saturday, did not directly deny the Tokara meeting to News24, but denied having a relationship with Rupert.
Stellenbosch Mafia further reveals that Shivambu:
- Sent Rupert information of the ANC's inner workings during the 2017 national elective conference and revealed to the billionaire that Cyril Ramaphosa would win the ANC presidential race.
- Advised Rupert to be interviewed by Given Mkhari of PowerFM who hosted Rupert for an insert of the annual Chairman's Conversation in December 2018.
"[EFF leader Julius] Malema told students in 2016 white monopoly capital was the biggest impediment to justice in South Africa and fingered the Ruperts and the Oppenheimers as the faces of 'WMC' and 'the enemy'," Du Toit wrote.
"Rupert is not averse to the odd ribbing or sniping comment, but Malema's constant badgering of him as the embodiment of the exploitation of workers and ultimate representative of white capital started to chafe in the latter part of 2016.
"The EFF leader had blamed Rupert for his woes with SARS, publicly stating that the businessman had ordered an investigation into his affairs. Rupert decided he had had enough and sent Malema a message through a mutual acquaintance, telling the EFF's 'commander-in-chief' that if he did not stop lying about him he would tell the world that the EFF was funded by Rupert's money," Du Toit revealed.
On Saturday, Shivambu emphatically denied the EFF had ever received money from Rupert. Instead, he deflected, saying the revelations were an attempt to detract from the fact Ramaphosa had received donations from Rupert.
Setting the record straight
"Believe it if you will," Rupert is quoted as saying. "But Floyd Shivambu advised me to do the PowerFM interview. Once he got to know me, when he realised what I was actually doing, that I was opposed to apartheid and who I knew during the Struggle, he said: 'But nobody knows this. You've got to go on Given Mkhari's show and do the Chairman's Conversation [with Mkhari] '."
Before the disastrous Mkhari interview, Shivambu and another EFF colleague went to see Rupert and Ferreira in Stellenbosch, Du Toit revealed.
"He and a colleague - I can't remember the man's name - came to see us to ask for help. We had lunch together at Tokara, Ferreira's wine estate on the Helshoogte Pass. They wanted to build a hospital in Limpopo and asked if we could help. They wanted expertise. They had two businessmen who had already built a couple of Spar supermarkets and wanted to work with Mediclinic.
"I told them we couldn't but maybe the people from Mediclinic could. Jannie then took them to Fleur du Cap, the farm my father bought which is now owned by Remgro. I was concerned that they might think that all white people live like that, because they already believe we bathe in champagne," Rupert recalled in Stellenbosch Mafia.
Despite these revelations, Shivambu told News24 he still shared the view Rupert was "the enemy" and the face of white monopoly capital.
"Absolutely, yes," Shivambu told News24 in a text message, but denied ever seeking or receiving money from "Rupert or anyone in Stellenbosch".
Shivambu also denied providing Rupert with information on the inner workings of the ANC and denied pushing him to do the Mkhari interview.
When asked if he could specifically deny meeting Rupert and Ferreira at Tokara and the subsequent trip to Fleur du Cap, Shivambu would only deny he was involved in a project to build a hospital.
Instead, he railed against this journalist, accusing him of being "handled" by Rupert.
"All white capitalists are enemies of the people and all their wealth is ill-gotten and that includes Rupert. I have no business relationship with him and I am not in business," Shivambu said.
Asked whether he had been in contact with Rupert since the meeting at Tokara, he said: "I, on February 21, 2018, responded to a Signal text message from a person who said he is Rupert and was objecting to my speech in Parliament.
"The text I sent, and which I still have on my phone said, 'We are not and have never claimed to be your friends. Your ill-gotten wealth, which was accumulated because you are white and because there was apartheid has to be challenged'," Shivambu said.
Signal is an encrypted messaging application for smartphones, much like WhatsApp .
Stellenbosch Mafia, published by Jonathan Ball, is out this week.