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Floyd Shivambu denies 'cosy relationship' with Johann Rupert

The EFF's deputy leader, Floyd Shivambu.
The EFF's deputy leader, Floyd Shivambu.
Image: Financial Mail

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu denied having a relationship with one of South Africa's richest men, Johann Rupert.

This after claims made in a book by journalist Pieter du Toit that the relationship between the two was "cosy".

The book, Stellenbosch Mafia: Inside the Billionaire’s Club, details how the wealthiest people in the country make their money, and how they use their power and influence to get what they want.

The book alleges that the EFF is “financially supported” by Rupert and his friends, and details an apparent meeting between Shivambu and Rupert at Tokara wine estate in the Western Cape to allegedly secure funding for a hospital in Limpopo.

Du Toit also suggests that Shivambu provided Rupert with private political information, including the likelihood of a Cyril Ramaphosa victory during the 2017 ANC leadership battle.

Taking to social media, Shivambu denied the claims, stating that he had never asked for organisational or personal assistance from the businessman.

He added that "white monopoly capital" remained a "primary enemy in the war for freedom".

Shivambu also released WhatsApp text messages, allegedly between him and Du Toit, in which he declined to comment on the "illusionary relationship" with Rupert.

The EFF also issued a statement, saying that in 2017 it had noted reports suggesting Shivambu had a "cosy relationship" with Rupert and had been asked by an association to assist it with obtaining funding to build a hospital.

The party said Shivambu then wrote to Mediclinic, in which Rupert has business interests, to organise a meeting with their representatives, including board members of Mediclinic and Remgro.

In February 2018, after a state of the nation (Sona) debate in which he told President Cyril Ramaphosa that "white monopoly capitalists'" excitement at his election was cause for concern, Shivambu received a text message via SIGNAL messenger from Rupert.

According to EFF national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, the message contained a video clip that showed Shivhambu saying "white monopoly capital is too comfortable with the president and he should be worried that the likes of Stephen Koseff, Brian Joffe and the Ruperts are happy with him".

"The text message underneath the video clip sent on February 20 2018, by Johann Rupert read as follows: 'I have not looted anything and am very disappointed in you for this BS. Thought you were more honourable and intelligent than this. Goodbye and good luck.'"

According to Ndlozi, Shivambu replied, saying: "You need to surround yourself with people who understand political dynamics and articulations."

In response, Rupert said: "I have known many people much older than you like Steve Biko and Madiba, and they never treated me with such disdain and disrespect. Furthermore, as my very old friend Jabu told you when you said that you are 'watching him' because I gave Lewazi a break 10 years ago, as head of the taxi association, you should watch it."

Shivambu responded: "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. We will not rest until we have reclaimed what rightfully belongs to indigenous South Africans. Interacting with you never meant that we are friends.

"You must never contact me again as well and we will continue to expose the criminal capitalist system, which you preside over. If you went around telling people that we are friends, then you misled them. I am not one of the puppies who surround you and always say 'yes baas' when you speak to them."

Ndlozi said the party saw the exchange of texts and no further meeting was held with Shivambu about the project.

He added that the revelations made in the book were a way of trying to divert the public's attention from the fact that public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane had made findings against Ramaphosa and public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan.

"White monopoly capital remains the primary enemy in the war for economic freedom and in the struggle to change the lives of our people. We will never bow down to white supremacists who use their control of the economy to subjugate black leaders to their control.

"Media sources that seek to suggest that there is a cosy relationship with the Ruperts are misplaced and false," he said.

EFF leader Julius Malema also took to Twitter to sound out the author.

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