Jacob Zuma and Louis Liebenberg in Zulu-Boer wonderland

Jacob Zuma and Louis Liebenberg in Zulu-Boer wonderland
From left: Louis Liebenberg, Carl Niehaus, Lindiwe Sisulu, King Misuzulu kaZwelithini, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, Lindiwe Zulu and Jacob Zuma. (Photos: Gallo Images, iStock and Unsplash)

A Zulu and a Boer - between a jail cell and a white homeland - bunker politics in the 21st century.

Zulu patriarch and former president of the Republic Jacob Zuma, and Afrikaner “businessman” Louis Liebenberg have found common grifting ground between keeping out of a jail cell and establishing a Boer homeland.

Welcome to 21st-century anarcho-capitalism disguised as archeological (backward looking) ethno-nationalist populism.

Liebenberg, for those who might have missed it, is a diamond dealer and self-styled “Afrikaner leader” who has forked out about R2.5-million in cattle and cash to Zuma. 

The businessman’s company, Tariomix, is currently under investigation by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation. 

This is ox-cart politics; a sort of B-grade epic featuring Zulus, Boers, a white homeland, a divine call to lead the nation, diamonds, women, a vengeful ex-wife, casinos, luxury homes, old-Italian Mafia connections and a thriving online diamond-dealing business that may or may not be a Ponzi scheme.

Jacob Zuma’s strategy in this instance is simple: stay out of jail at all costs. 

Accused No 1 has already found himself doing a short stint in prison-issue orange overalls, and being asked to clean his own cell and make his own bed on arrival at the Estcourt Correctional Facility in July 2021. Never, never and never again.

Been there, done that, set the country alight.

Liebenberg’s cunning plan, like a Boer General of yore, was set out at a meeting with a group of farmers in Delareyville in North West this month.

It goes like this: Capture Jacob Zuma (and the Radical Economic Transformation (RET) sect), and get rid of Cyril Ramaphosa and Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, which will pave the way for an Afrikaner homeland. All of which Zuma is going to make happen when he rises like a phoenix.


In March this year, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), deploying the Organised Crime Act, froze Liebenberg’s bank accounts containing about R100-million. A challenge by Liebenberg was successful, but has been taken on appeal by the NPA. 

The law, in other words, is breathing hard down the dealer’s neck.

In the meantime, Liebenberg popped a R500K deposit for the troubled Zuma to secure His Former Excellency’s private prosecution of Advocate Billy Downer, the state prosecutor who has waited for 19 years as Zuma delayed and dodged multiple charges of corruption related to the Arms Deal.

Swamp politics

The Benoni park-bench ideology that underpins Liebenberg’s world-view is so vile and crude that he proudly claims to have told Jacob Zuma to his 80-year-old face that “I am a Boer. We don’t like to live with you [Zulus]”.

Liebenberg has often ranted about the toilet habits of black South Africans and Zulus, in particular: “You shit and don’t use toilet paper, you use newspapers or your fingers and we can’t f*&cken live with you.” 

It’s all there, dear reader, in Liebenberg’s own WhatsApp voice messages and his YouTube rants.

This is the shallow, putrid bottom of the swamp into which Jacob Zuma has dragged local politics. 

And along with him newly enthroned Zulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini, who suffered the ignominy of having to attend the October wedding of Liebenberg to his third wife, estate agent Dezzi Van Schalkwyk.

Surely the monarch himself cannot be so hard up he has to show his Bambi face at the wedding of a rabid racist? And what says the Zulu nation about this perverse display of submission? 

Or was it? Maybe it’s another cunning trick like the one played on Piet Retief that day he went to chat with Dingane ka Senzangakhona and ended up six feet under.

Liebenberg, in another, earlier leaked WhatsApp to a former wife, liberally used the k-word in his rants and, in fact, suggested the apartheid government should have nuked Soweto way back when.

Benoni features here because that’s where Liebenberg claims to have slept out in the open in a park during his “vagrant” period  in 2001 before returning to the glitter of the diamond fields of Port Nolloth.

Liebenberg was born in Port Nolloth about 85km south of the Namibian border in 1956, the son of a preacher. A family friend had introduced the young Louis to the delights of diamond mining and he has not looked back since (apart from his politics).

In 2015, Liebenberg was linked to the Sicilian-born Ferrante family, who had settled in South Africa in the 1950s and who had close links with Messicati Vitale, “who holds the Mafia throne of the Villabate borough of Palermo”, according to a an exposé by the Mail & Guardian.

Liebeberg, at the time, was in a romantic relationship with Salvatore Ferrante’s  eldest daughter, Giuseppina. Of course back then, Vito Pallazolo, who lived in South Africa as Robert von Palace Kolbatschekno and for years a trusted banker for the Cosa Nostra, was a key political player in apartheid South Africa.

Pallazolo recently visited South Africa, where his family still has business interests, after serving time in Swiss, Thai and Italian jails. He was released in 2019 from Italy, where he served seven years for his role in Mafia activities.

Afrikaner RET

Quite honestly, Jacob Zuma doesn’t look the least bit bothered by Liebenberg’s grotesquery. The former head of state is prepared to take money from literally anyone.

Besides, if this mad Boer is going to gift millions to Zuma that Liebenberg might have swindled form his own “volk”, then go ahead. It seems, from a certain point of view, like a divine or perverse justice of sorts.

In RET Wonderland, anything amoral can be rendered acceptable, as long as large amounts of money is involved.

It’s the type of RET Zuma’s bloodthirsty daughter, Duduzile, approves of. Defending Liebenberg’s despicable racism on her platform of choice, Twitter, she claimed at that least Liebenberg “atoned” and was now “helping a black man”.

BTW, also at Liebenberg’s wedding in October was Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Social Development, who was reported to have made a speech. 

Zulu, on the other hand, remembered the event differently when asked by Rapport, responding she had been asked to address “a group of Afrikaans people”.

Eventually, we will have an Afrikaner leader in Parliament. I can only say thank you God, you are about to release the Volk from his own brains, from his own wrong thoughts and beliefs, and what the Broederbond has told us.

Perhaps she missed the lavish wedding decorations that cost more than R2-million and that took place at the Chez Charlene Wedding venue in Pretoria. Carl Niehaus, Jacob Zuma’s Number One Boer, was also in attendance, naturally. 

We can safely bet Liebenberg is keeping the former ANC MKMVA member afloat financially. Niehaus, like Zuma, runs on a big, full tank.

Even embattled RET presidential candidate Minister of Tourism Lindiwe Sisulu has also not been spared Liebenberg’s single-minded focus and reportedly met the “businessman” at OR Tambo International Airport – she says for less than 10 minutes.

According to Steve Motale, Sisulu’s spokesperson, after the meeting, the minister had “noted that he [Liebenberg] had psychological challenges” and that he should “get professional help”.

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Liebenberg – like AfriForum, Solidariteit and other organisations hoping to capture the attention and deepest fears of white, Afrikaans-speaking South Africans – knows that the volk are sitting on savings just waiting to be “invested”.

This they can do through buying from Liebenberg’s online business, Forever Diamonds and Gold, a cut in parcels of diamonds (from various mines he claims to own) that go on offer. 

“Investors” buy a share of the diamond package for anything from R1-million with the promised return of 125%. Suffice to say, there are quite a heap of disgruntled investors waiting for their winnings.

In April 2020, celebrity private investigator Mike Bolhuis posted on his Facebook page that Liebenberg’s previous business, Wealth for U, “was taken over by the Italian Mafia” and that Liebenberg had been simply “downgraded to a staff member”.

Liebenberg’s fig leaf of negotiating a homeland for white Afrikaners is one of the issues he promises to campaign around when he launches his presidential bid in 2024, as he has promised to do. (Has he had a look at the new Electoral Act, we wonder?)

Liebenberg, in his quest for a homeland, forgets one already exists. Problem is, it’s just not his to exploit.

Orania, a private whites-only Afrikaner homeland in the Northern Cape established in 1991, is thriving and even sending delegations to the Eastern Cape to meet with the amaBhele kaJamangile royal family to “discuss self-sufficiency”.

Princess Bhelekazi Mabandla, royal “head of diplomatic services”, in fact told the Daily Dispatch that a visit to Orania on invitation from AfriForum had been “a great experience”.

The contact between Afrikaner separatists and Xhosa royalty, she said, “was based on the notion that we need to start the dialogue on co-existing, and cultural recognition and reconciliation”.

That, my friends, is the sound of ancestors turning in their graves.

However, Liebenberg is at war with fellow Afrikaner organisations, intellectuals and activists including AfriForum and theology student Willem Petzer. 

Luckily, the feeling is mutual. Broedertwis is epigenetic among Afrikaners.

The fight for the heart and soul of those who identify as such has continued long after what is known as the Second Boer War for independence, fought between 1899 and 1902, ended. Today, the war is more opportunistic and mercenary. It’s money everyone wants.

Liebenberg, in one of his YouTube sermons (he always begins with a long rambling prayer), issued dire warnings to the “Boer volk” sounding often like the late white supremacist Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) leader Eugene Terre’Blanche. 

Terre’Blanche was murdered on his farm in Ventersdorp in 2010 by farmworker Chris Mahlangu, who bludgeoned the leader to death with a steel pipe as he lay sleeping in his bed.

The fear is always there, brimming, ready to be exploited.

Said Liebenberg: “Boere, if you hate black people and you can’t open your ears to what God is doing, you will end up in trouble. You will be part of the hundred thousand Boers that are going to be slaughtered by the tribes of Africa.

“You will be killed with pangas. You will be looked up because your name is on their database. The government will get you,” he warned.

The way to save yourself, according to Liebenberg, is to follow him in his plot to topple the government – and could you just invest in a packet of diamonds on offer on the way out.

He has a constant and aggressive presence on social media – on YouTube and elsewhere – like a jackhammer at a street repair job.

As for his 2024 presidential bid.

“Eventually, we will have an Afrikaner leader in Parliament. I can only say thank you God, you are about to release the Volk from his own brains, from his own wrong thoughts and beliefs, and what the Broederbond has told us,” Liebenberg proclaimed.

His core riff deployed to bully investors into buying into his unique diamond bidding scheme is that formerly Afrikaner-owned insurance companies – which sold out to meet “BEE” requirements – had scammed Afrikaners for years. Now it is his turn to eat.

Perhaps Jacob and Louis in Wonderland will find themselves trapped in a well-stocked bunker in Nkandla, both fugitives from justice, running an online casino, laundering Gaddafi’s millions.

Anything is possible. DM168

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R25.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Paddy Ross says:

    I have long been a fan of your writing, Marianne, but this article is one of your best.

  • Margaret Jensen says:

    An almost lighthearted insight into these 2 characters but with warnings for us all.
    Thank you Marianne Thamm!!

  • Bhekinkosi Madela says:

    At least Solidariteit, which the author counts among organizations “hoping to capture the attention and deepest fears of white, Afrikaans-speaking S. Africans”, in the immediate aftermath of closure the Lily Mine paid school fees of its members’ children and helped with groceries.

  • Adam Nosworthy says:

    I have not enjoyed reading an article, as I have this one, in a very long time!

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


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