Does an unholy chord of three strands afford Johann Rupert his arrogance if not indolence?


– layers of BLACK ELITISTS, ( ANC politically  connected shareholders, Civil society /Clergy, Academics and ANC presidential contestants,) gives Rupert’s claim credence-


Qoheleth, in the twelfth verse of the fourth chapter of Ecclesiastes a wisdom literature book in the Holy Writ reminds us: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A chord of three strands is not easily broken.” I thought of thought of this archaic though Sacred Text, as I began to crystallize the reasons for a Johann Rupert’s arrogance.


The South African political plateau confirms a make belief shifting reality, yet the role of capital protests no shaking at all- it defies any tremors. In order to fully appreciate the articulation of a Rupert we must first appreciate the actual control of apartheid and colonial beneficiaries have over the SA economy. The signpost of that constituency is none but one just Johann Rupert the face of apartheid wealth and the embodiment of a successful racist regime, which always had capitalism as its jet fuel and end game.


I paused and thought as to why Johann Rupert can be so arrogant if not indolent to engage the true issues that challenge transformation. Rupert out of his fundamental control of whatever defines SA in economic sense ventured to define the ANC led Government policy of Radical Economic Transformation by an insulting and dismissive “a code word for theft” With this five word conclusive definition Rupert spat on policy which represents the hope of the masses of blacks still at the station to also experience true empowerment. He tells blacks you have no hope at a future, unto you was not given the right to challenge the status quo of economic control, you lack the wherewithal to engender productive and truly empowerment capacity for at the core of your policy is a corruption, the aorta of your claim on empowerment is looting.


It all makes sense when you realize that the 1994 Consensus has come full circle, the famous sunset clause and less said Brenthurst agreements that protected white apartheid and colonial benefit, has made more whites wealthy and quadrupled white wealth in democracy.


Current, Department of Trade and Industry endorsed statistics tell us that 23% of all companies on the JSE are black-owned. That figure is also to be understood in real 13% and 10% in diverse forms of black identity. We also know that a paltry 3% of SA’s economy is truly black-owned, according to DTI.


A closer look at other stats on senior management index leads us to conclude that after 23 years of democracy and despite all the progressive policies, i.e. affirmative action, employment equity act, etc., implemented by the ANC led government currently a mere 21% makes up the top executive leadership teams of SA’s top 40 companies and the number of black CEOs running JSE-listed companies has dropped from 15% in 2014 to only 10% in 2015. The last statistic confirms instead of growth undeniable regress of a significant 5% meaning the battle on transforming the SA economy is not won.


Recently Minister Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs, in sea of unnerving silence on the part of many black elitists became the second senior ANC politician after ANC presidential contender Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to take Rupert’s arrogance head on. She described Rupert as a ‘beneficiary of the largesse of the interventionist apartheid state’. She continued to attribute the ‘stellar fortunes of his late father’, to that which Dan O’Meara described as ‘volkskapitalisme’. Her application of O’ Meara’s ‘volkskapitalisme’ reads as follow, ‘By means of volkskapitalisme, the racist Nationalist Party government leveraged state power and state assets such as state-owned banks to buoy Afrikaner businesses and turn them into the corporate behemoths of today.’


Molewa therefore makes a pertinent analysis and assessment, on the contradiction and mindset of Johann Rupert and his ilk, that we may surmise suffer of selective amnesia as to how the State under apartheid was used to advance and develop the fallacy of an Afrikaner nationality and nationhood.


Theresa Oakley Smith managing director of Diversi-T, during May 2017, in referring to recent labour statistics by the South African Labour Force, asserts “ In terms of recruitment white men make up 42,10% of that 100%. African men make up 17.9%…’ According Oakley Smith, ‘White men received 38.8 % of the promotions last year, white women 16 percent, African men 14%, in spite of employment equity….’ Oakley Smith continues to assert, “There is a very good opportunity for white men to seek out other white men, and in the business environment for example if somebody comes in for an interview, the white man walks in and there is already an assumption that he can do the job.”


It is here that Molewa correctly concludes in asserting that we must ask questions on the role of the private sector in levelling the playing field from an economic perspective, and whether it has, in fact, “come to the party”.


Appreciating the historical trajectory of a system that debased the masses of South Africans in blackness of second class citizenship combined with the glaring anomalies of what democracy means and has come to stand for in economic expression as no dissimilar to the historical apartheid reality, it is difficult not to concur with Molewa and to hear Oakley Smith that questions must be asked to the private sector. I therefore concur that we must ask questions, yet I want to spread the net wider than the race and gender as the two strands that defines white monopoly and ultimately Ruperts polluted air for a definition of radical economic transformation in the face of private sector understood in its monopolized white male and pale identity configuration.


Closer analysis dictates that for both Molewa and Oakley Smith, the arrogance of a Rupert is based on two fundamental issues which Molewa identifies with the enterprise of race as the vortex and the epicentre of a ever pervasive reality and fulcrum apartheid ideology which some conveniently assume is gone. When we protest it may be gone in statutory institutional form, we cannot but concede it stands in structural definition sense. Oakley Smith goes a step further than the reality of race, and puts another layer which rings the bells on the gender issue of a superior white male identity still ruling the economic world of a SA.


In that same tradition of unpacking the strands that holds a Rupert in power and confirms his brutish arrogance, I wish to postulate another strand of black elitist immanent of varied which in this season makes up the not easily broken chord we read about earlier. Therefore, another component to the conclusions drawn by Molewa and Oakley Smith on the comfort of business as usual attitude in agreeing as to the veracity and impending need to ask questions from colonial and apartheid beneficiary worlds is the black elitist.


I will therefore advance that perhaps the major reason why Rupert is this arrogant is due to the role and salience of the ANC advanced black elitist in their respective spheres attesting a set of layers. It is thus my assertion that if white male pale dominates the SA economy in monopolized sense as aided by a constitutional democracy the economic landscape and outlook of SA, it derives its legitimacy from this third strand, less from the advanced race and gender reality, which features in ontological sense strongly.


The prevailing disparity of white male control and monopolizing of our SA economy is directly translating to the salience of a silent empowered black constituency. The arrogance is hatched on the complicit role and not devoid of what attests a convenient silent empowered strand made up of intertwined and interdependent layers cohort immanent in black political, economic academic, civil society including faith leadership empowered elitists.



Black politically connected ‘shareholders’ layer:


This four-layered third strand of the chord of intertwined and interdependent configured black empowered elitists share an unholy alliance with apartheid white male and pale economic dominance and control as well as monopoly.


Since 1994 and with every aspect of BEE later BBEEE a crop of blacks who essentially shared a political affinity and proximity with political leadership have been empowered. We must accept that it remains the ANC intent to continue developing a middle class. Beyond this aim, which the ANC to some degrees has achieved, is a group of economically advantaged superior to other blacks group. You will recall how Tokyo Sexwale once conceded when they opted to be deployed economically, they had never a clue how wealthy they would become.


This group of super advantaged and wealthy black elitists granted made their money from ANC blessing and white pressurized favour in a network BEE deals that had good bad and ugly outcomes, yet never left whites poorer, but always more empowered. This groups regardless to how defined simply have no voice against the white capital that it is enmeshed in and often is used as an unleashed weapon to ring moral bells. We can think of the Jay Naidoo’s of the our world who have in singularity of purpose attempted being a conscience to the ANC led state, when he is awkwardly silent on the disparities that perpetuates the nightmare of apartheid entrenched economic dominance by the very white identities.


We even have some like Trevor Manuel who today categorically deny that white identity as having monopolized our economy. Matthews Phosa, Murphy Morobe, Valli Moosa, Popo Molefe, Frank Chikane, Cheryl Carolus etc, have former activists but today wealthy have a one dimensional morality that of wanting to lecture the current ANC leadership yet is comfortable with the decline in black executive leadership the anomalies of this democracy that keeps the masses enslaved to worship of a white identity.


Where is the discomfort of the activists the Financial Intelligence Centre, illicit financial flows cites a claims that SA lost around R60bn for the period of 2015-16 and that this figure is incrementally raising. Let us not forget the obvious capital gains enjoyed by local, mainly white shareholders. Why are these activists today shareholders in variety of white owned companies today silent on this and sees nothing wrong with that. Why this chameleon morality?



The Reconfigured Black modern civil society layer:


Another dimension of black elitist role is understood in those who makeup the modern civil society formations and faith stream leaders. These have a very interesting and chameleon morality where they in scripted sense seeks to red card for example the Guptas but have nothing to say about the abuse that continues in mining communities. Their advocacy has no appetite to challenge the economic disparities of our society they also have no desire to for challenge the attitude of Rupert. We not sure if their programmes and projects are also sponsored by the Ruperts?


We have seen the face of SAVE-SA Sipho Pityana leading this chameleon morality when he is consciously silent on the disparities of our economy in its manifested sense. This group includes also the reconfigured clergy identifiable in a hijacked SACC political agenda of seeking a president’s removal when it never can ask the uncomfortable questions from the white business that assist their foundations, programmes, and projects.


This chameleon morality that can be sharp to see the wrong of blacks in government and not that of whites in business is fast becoming our new reality. How does the bread price-fixing scandal of 2007 escape the wrath of the group of civil society and clergy not red card what Molewa: “that capital is not by nature altruistic, and that the country’s large monopolies have scant regard for the effects of their actions on those who are hardest hit by their relentless pursuit of profit. Why the silence on the data colluding monopolies?


Black Academics layer


The Latin phrase ‘Quis custodiet ipsos custodes’, as derived from found in the work of the Roman poet  Juvenal from his Satires is translated to mean who guard the guards.


In August of 2011, I penned a note analysing the Native Intellectual for his/her visible absence in political discourse. I cited that if they have any presence, it is fashionable in opposition politics formation. This means when they analyse it is in the interest of what I termed “white thinking” which proves pervasive in post apartheid context. My argument has matured to include all public intellectuals aka analysts. In South Africa today you are seen as lackey of Government if you share and attribute credit to the transformation paradigm manifested in the ANC led government, you are equally honoured and showered as an independent mind if you necessarily opposed to Post – 1994 political unfolding.

These and many other paradoxes leaves me wondering if we are not force fed a diet concocted by ‘imbedded analysis’ where analysts drink from the same cup of brotherhood in which they articulate in academic astuteness and pronounce in political bed rocked an analysis which sets the discourse of what we deem politics in SA.

I have already postulated in my earlier note, – The Crises of the Native Intellectual – “the challenge of Intellectualism is the proximity of its nuanced historic affinity to the concept and subject of elitism”. This notion has come full circle in South Africa and purports to be at variance with what should inform our public intellectuals experienced in written and oral expression.

In a later piece I critiqued the role of black leadership at former white tertiary institutions as having been absent in true transformation. I have postulated its role is best understood in the fact that South Africa’s black academics did not escape the captured nature of apartheid wealth. We know this because apartheids academic institutions played a pivotal role in its upkeep.


The academic institutions may today show a black face as Ramphele was at UCT, Njabulo or a Jonathan Jansen at UFS yet these while becoming experts on black errors of governance is yet to critique the apartheid appropriated systems of wealth, never outright challenging its benefactors to account. They therefore appear safe hands for the apartheid largesse benefactors. We must ask the black academics vocal on adjudicating the ANC led government in a one sided critique why they have no voice in engaging the statistics of an SA as confirming the monopoly by a white identity visible in arrogance of maleness. How is it they never ask pertinent questions from white business do they also attesting a chameleon academic morality?


If Rupert is therefore arrogant it is directly linked to the presence of the black elitists. There is unholy alliance of the black elitists to never challenge appropriated and now entrenched economic reality of South Africa in the face of growing black poverty as the recent statistics shows.


To therefore red card Rupert and his ilk in pure race and gender description is one part of our economic reality and dilemma. The other part, which equally confirms an anomaly of note, is connected to the black cohort of elitist; it does not end there.


Black ANC presidential contesting leaders layer:


A cardinal component of this unholy equation is and remains the role and salience of black ANC politicians particularly males. ANC led leaders are enmeshed in the ownership of our economy and their status as being a part of albeit insignificant in capital size sense but 100% in political sense.


You will recall until now people like Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize, Secretary General Gwede Mantashe, Chairperson Baleka Mbete all contenders for ANC 2017 high office who is in the running to lead the ANC, until now have remained completely voiceless on this insult of Rupert on ANC policy. Many ANC contenders no different to the economic beneficiaries hide behind a statement released by the ANC spokesman. The glaring contradiction of the latter is confirmed when the same leaders despite Kodwa’s official statement on a Makhosi Khoza, or state capture for political reasons we must assume venture their own contradictory personal opinions. We do not hear the chairperson of the ANC Social Transformation Committee usually a vocal contributor Lindiwe Sisulu expressing her discomfort with Rupert’s statement or drawing attention to his arrogance originating out of a supreme race mindset. We don’t hear the discomfort of the monopolized construction cartels that in an unholy fashion could by and through corrupt means fix prices as they agreed to share the benefits of the development of infrastructure in the uprun to 2010 FIFA World Cup.


We must equally ask those same questions of those who define the horizon of black empowerment particularly those who today more and more are reincarnated as a solid apartheid defence economic bufferzone. Their silence and blind loyalty to those who made them from the Rupert and ilk stable in this season that lends legitimacy to the Rupert attitude.


If the executive management of JSE listed companies confirms a contraction and digress from 15- 10% it must be asked what was the contribution of the empowered blacks mainly males in this equation. Recently there was an uproar when Patrice Motsepe arguably the signpost black collective economic freedom launched his new bank and decided to appoint two white male and pale ones to lead. We can look at Ramaphosa’s Shanduka and we will quickly see this phenomenon repeats itself for more truly empowered black ones.



Rupert cannot help his arrogance, he grew up in a time when his father was the other power in a twin personality tussle of Afrikaner political power en route to a crafted Afrikaner nationalism and was offered the economic opportunity highway to make him go away, the same which saw him becoming head of an empire extended to Johann Rupert who in this democratic season exponentially continued to entrenched that apartheid reality.


In a large sense for Rupert nothing has changed from the day of his dad. Whites are still wealthy; they made even more money in democracy then under apartheid. Empowered blacks don’t challenge him because he had a hand in some of their wealth.


The land remains owned as always under apartheid, the governments changed in colour but the powerbase due to a 1994 consensus never altered anywhere or anyhow. Rupert’s wealth has quadrupled when blacks die of poverty with a black government. Rupert has captured elitists in the ANC and directs their prism of economic well being for SA. Rupert sponsors well heeled pseudo civil society formations. How can we expect of him not to be arrogant, it is business as usual. He has captured the black academics that have an opinion on black led government from a claimed high moral ground when it cannot remotely have the presence of mind or voice to red card this arrogance that confirms a despicable disparity in which the false white identity is still honoured.


Now when you introduce a new policy that says radical economic transformation and you start saying the fiscus will be used immanent in R500bn annualized procurement from the State, to ensure this is realized. When you start saying change is no more optional but sectors of the SA economy remains monopolized in definition of white identities of male and pale description. When you start dissecting sectors and industries and show the untransformed state of these, when you start saying there are five white families benefitting grossly from Eskom with 100 year contract in annualized billions despite he fact that we know the coal supplied to Eskom is not always of the quality these companies claim.



I hold one day in a distant future, when we are willing to let the black elitist fig leaf of our ambivalent morality fall, beyond our hype and classically conditioned minds on what patronage as is claimed of a Gupta economic fly is e may wake up appreciate this moment. Not patronage not as told by those who must thank O’ Meara’s ‘ volkskapitalisme’. Yes, beyond the white capital captured state of the majority of ANC leaders, black business leaders, black academics and black faith leaders, who despite knowing the truth in cheapness of political self-interest is wholly in concert as scripted by the very oppressors to have us focus in one dimensional sense on a black naturalized family of Guptas, perhaps economic flies in the face of apartheid tigers. Does it mean we must agree with the wrong the Guptas have done, where it can be proven, certainly no, it is the ambivalence of this chameleon morality we are classically conditioned to accept is not discomforting and alien.


We will then know that the Gupta’s opened our eyes as to how white males have captured our economy aided by a thin slice of empowered reconfigured black males, their spouses, families and friends immanent in the postulated strand chord made up of four intertwined and interdependent layers that speaks to black elitist group.


The words of Qoheleth rings more true today then ever before, a chord of three strands is not easily broken.


Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

Political Commentator





















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