MARCH ON STELLENBOSCH
EFF guns for Johann Rupert, demands land to be voluntarily returned to the people
The EFF is demanding that South African business magnate Johann Rupert give up some of his land before the ‘land revolution’ visits him. Political commentator Ralph Mathekga says comments such as these border on intimidation and reveal the extent of lawlessness in the country.
Author and political analyst Ralph Mathekga criticised the EFF’s comments on Wednesday after members of the party marched to the Remgro office of tycoon Johann Rupert.
EFF leader Julius Malema led several hundred of the party’s faithful on a 45-minute walk from Kayamandi to the centre of Stellenbosch. Not even a heavy downpour deterred them.
The EFF’s demands were contained in a memorandum handed to Remgro representative Monica Hickman. The party is demanding to know how much property is owned by Rupert and how it was acquired. They also want the immediate redistribution of land and private holdings without compensation, particularly that which is under the ownership of Johann Rupert and his entities. And they want an audited independent report of Rupert’s taxes and a public disclosure of all his offshore accounts.
After receiving the memorandum, Hickman said it would be forwarded to the Rupert’s who would deal with it further.
The EFF has given Rupert 14 days to respond to their demands.
Mathekga likened the march to recent incidents where the EFF walked into restaurants and demanded to know how many foreigners were employed there.
“It is all politics and intimidation when a political party marches to a family. To tell a person that he must not employ foreigners or, like the Ruperts, to release land, is nothing more than intimidation and a breakdown of the rule of law.
“There is no way you can defend this kind of behaviour. This is going to end in tears if we allow this to continue. It actually says there is lawlessness in this country. We are playing with fire here,” he said.
The latest public display by the EFF comes in the wake of Operation Dudula’s march aimed at intimidating foreign nationals in Johannesburg. President Cyril Ramaphosa made it clear that the ANC would not support organisations such as Operation Dudula, describing them as vigilantes.
A proposed amendment to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation is another fight the EFF lost in December 2021, when the bid failed to garner the requisite number of votes in the National Assembly.
At the time, Malema said the ANC’s refusal to support the amendment was “led by cowards who don’t want to offend their handlers” and accused the ruling party of being “completely captured by white monopoly capital”.
Mathekga warns that Dudula and the EFF are ticking bombs.
Echoing Mathekga’s sentiments, ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe said this kind of intimidation could be avoided “if we had a strong government in South Africa who dealt decisively with it”.
He said, “The EFF are wrong… they cannot take the law into their own hands and they cannot talk about people giving back the land when they don’t know how much they paid for that land.
“It is dangerous because… they might be threatening to invade the land. This has the potential to bring racial confrontation to the country, which is not needed at this stage,” Meshoe said.
Referring to Operation Dudula, he said: “It is known that it is an illegal organisation, but they do their searches in the presence of the police… the police need a permit before searching houses, but Operation Dudula apparently doesn’t.
“It is an indication of how lawlessness is becoming entrenched in South Africa and it is the fault of the government.”
Speaking to supporters, Malema said the purpose of the visit to the Remgro offices was to confront white monopoly capital.
“When the programme of land expropriation starts, it will also start here in Stellenbosch and we will reclaim our land. We want the farms to be given to black people.
“You have enough land, Rupert… start releasing some of it voluntarily now before the land revolution visits you. All those white people who own a lot of land or properties, a lot of wealth, please start sharing it with the people of South Africa because they are losing their patience,” Malema said.
He said that the Rupert family, with the Oppenheimer family, were the “direct descendants” of members of the Dutch East India Company which was established in April 1652 in the Cape.
“The Ruperts are the first citizens of the white supremacist project of black exploitation and dispossession. To this day, this very property, like many other properties around the continent, is surrounded by a mass of black people who live in squalor.
“The Ruperts, like all white people in SA, are direct beneficiaries of colonial settlement and land dispossession that began on 6 April 1652,” he said.
EFF Western Cape chairperson, Melikhaya Xego, told Daily Maverick the march was also part of a recruitment campaign to get a million members signed up to the party.
“We have noted there are a number of emerging small political parties. But for our people to understand the message of the EFF, we have to do public recruiting and, from there onwards, we politically educate them.
“The majority of people don’t vote for the EFF because they fear there is this ‘swart gevaar’ that is created by white monopoly capitalists. Our people then tend to fear belonging to the party,” Xego said.
The EFF also has its sights on the Western Cape, which they refer to as the “DA racist-run province”.
Interim deputy leader of the DA in the Western Cape, Tertuis Simmers, said: “The reality is that after every election, local and national, the results show that voters in the Western Cape reject the ideology and militarism — and at times close to illegal behaviour — of the EFF. It doesn’t resonate in the Western Cape.” DM