The African National Congress (ANC) has denounced as disingenuous and extremely opportunistic comments reportedly made by Billionaire Johann Rupert that Radical Economic Transformation was nothing more than a code word for stealing.
“This statement is disingenuous, and extremely opportunistic coming as it does from a beneficiary of apartheid’s exclusionary policies such as Rupert.
“We condemn this arrogant attitude towards the majority of South Africans who have an active interest and are drivers of the change envisaged through radical economic transformation,” said ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa in a statement.
The Remgro chairman reportedly made the remarks on the sidelines of Richemont’s annual general meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
He reportedly said radical economic transformation was a code word for theft and all that was happening was a raiding of state coffers.
The ANC on Thursday hit out at Rupert’s assertions saying it was committed to reshaping the economy, social relations, patterns of ownership and control of the economy in favor the poor.
“The discourse on radical economic transformation is informed by the racial inequalities that are evident in the economic life of South Africa. These inequalities are a legacy of the social engineering and structural underpinnings of the Apartheid political economy.
“By its design, the colonial system, and particularly its apartheid form, enforced a social order in which access to economic opportunity was an exclusive privilege of white people,” said Kodwa.
The ANC also highlighted that Rupert, who happens to be South Africa’s richest man, had inherited wealth which was accumulated during the Apartheid era.
“It is these racialised economic relations that have produced the generational wealth of the Rupert Family that Mr Johan Rupert now commands. Thus, his arrogant condemnation of the important discussion about economic transformation in our country betrays his ill-gotten privilege.
“More importantly, it is these arrogant attitudes on the part of the privileged sections of our society that threaten the very idea of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa that we have always struggled for,” said Kodwa.
The ANC has called on Rupert to refrain from making further statements saying “Rupert would be well advised to desist from derogatory, unfounded statements based on his innate inclination to preserve privilege and prosperity for a few”.
Rupert has previously been critical of the ruling party including calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down.