Leader of Black First Land First (BLF) Andile Mngxitama took to Facebook on Tuesday to claim that South Africans were reacting incorrectly to surprising changes to the Sunday Times rich list, which made headlines at the start of this week.
He said they were wrong to be angry at Atul Gupta, who is now understood to be the richest black man in the country after displacing Patrice Motsepe and breaking into the top 10.
The newspaper calculated Gupta’s personal wealth at R10.7 billion, placing him at number 7 on the list, the only black man in the top 10. Nearly 80% of the people on the list of 200 richest South Africans were listed as white males.
Mngxitama incorrectly stated that Gupta was in 10th place, which presumably now makes him more wealthy than Johann Rupert, listed by the Sunday Times in 22nd place. However, the Rupert family’s holding company for the Remgro luxury goods company still came in at eighth place.
Rupert used to be South Africa’s richest man, before being displaced at the top by Christo Wiese. The Oppenheimer family traditionally also used to occupy first or second spot. This year, however, they appear to not even be on the list of super-rich South Africans at all – something that did not escape Mngxitama’s attention.
He claimed that such historically hyper-wealthy white South African families must have been quietly taking their money out of South Africa, which he alleged must then be the “biggest legalised theft in recent times”. However, he offered no further substantiation for this other than looking at the rich list, which is based on the value of disclosed directors’ holdings in JSE-listed companies covering the period between December 2015 and November 30 this year. It is therefore not a foolproof measure of the actual riches of people living in South Africa, as wealth can be held in numerous other forms, not only in the stock market.
However, it could also mean that money has been moved abroad.
Mngxitama opined that the reason there has been no outcry about any of this is because white people “think and shape our own narrative”.
He has previously said his “fight” against Rupert “gives me life”. The dispute is over billions of rands the BLF leader claims were “stolen” by Rupert and other businessmen in the final days of apartheid. Rupert has in turn complained that the Gupta family’s PR company has been behind a “smear campaign” against him on social media.
Mngxitama asked on Tuesday: “Did you see the Sunday Times ‘rich list” now says Athul Gupta (no 10) [sic] is more wealthy than Johann Rupert (22). blacks been angry all day on sunday. they were angry at Athul, not at the first 9 whites who owns shocking amounts of money from exploiting and oppressing us.
“Whites are real smart; we must give it to them. did you also notice that Nicky Oppenheimer does not feature? you know what happened? whilest [sic] we were kept busy with Nkandla and Guptas this [sic] two families (the richest in SA) took their money out of SA. This is the biggest legalised theft in recent times. they control how we think and shape our own narrative. lets give it to them whites; folks!”