Exploitative loans from Johann Rupert disguised as donations – EFF

Fighters say some of these will entrap SMMEs and state into un-repayable loans and future corrupt dealings

EFF statement on exploitative loans from Johann Rupert disguised as donations toward Covid-19

31 March 2020

The EFF is disgusted by the opportunism of South African capitalists and captains of industry and their attempts to profit from the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past two weeks we have been bombarded with the unnecessary announcement of "donations" towards what should be humanitarian efforts to fight COVID-19. These supposed donations came from the likes of Johann Rupert and the Oppenheimer family to name but a few. The reality is that some of these donations are dependency building investments by capital, that will entrap Small-and-Medium Enterprises (SMME'S) and the state into un-repayable loans and future corrupt dealings.

Rupert is using one of his subsidiaries, Business Partners, a risk finance company to set up a sophisticated loan shark scheme that will indebt SMME's and ensure he secures long term profits from a national disaster. He has set up a fund that he claims will help sustain small and medium business during the 21 -day lockdown initiated to curb the spread of the Corona virus. This fund will be managed by his company and small and medium sized businesses are invited to apply for aid which will have repayable loans after a one year period. The RI Billon fund he set up and intends to finance with the profits he makes through his monopoly company Remgro, which will increase its revenue during this crisis as a result of the massacre on the informal retail sector, must be rejected with the contempt it deserves.

All donations towards fighting the effects and impact of COVID-19, particularly with regards to the economy should not come with any conditions and must be administered by the central government. As such the state must ensure that greedy capitalists do not take advantage of our people by disguising loans as aid.

Donations must be given to a common fund monitored by the state. This use of resources from this fund must be transparent and combat the effects of the virus directly at no expense to those receiving aid in the interim or future.

Those who are overcome by overwhelming greed in a time of human crisis must be shamed and exposed for what they are. The likes of Rupert must never be allowed to profit from a global health disaster while pretending to be contributing constructively towards the well-being of our people.

We call on Government to disclose the exact details of all the pledges and donations made by the private sector, indicating what are they for and how they are going to be used to combat the rapid spread of the Coronavirus and the economic devastation on our people.

We call on SMMEs to not apply for any loan from the Rupert controlled Business Partners because it will leave them in huge debts. SMMEs should apply for relief packages from the department of small businesses and this is not a loan.

We further reiterate our call for government to develop and announce a government controlled stimulus package that will primarily help SMMEs and self employed people who are left with no income due to the lockdown. Government should not leave a vacuum for the greedy capitalists and loan sharks who will indebt our people to deeper levels of poverty and suffering.

Issued by Vuyani Pambo, National Spokesperson, EFF, 31 March 2020