Lord Robin Renwick’s book How to Steal a Country has been making headlines in South Africa following the former British peer’s visit to the country to promote it.
It deals with state capture, particularly the relationship between former president Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family.
Renwick is a former diplomat who has often been accused by characters such as Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama of being a “puppet master” behind the scenes of South African politics.
He was the British ambassador to South Africa between the crucial historic years of 1987 to 1991.
He told the Saturday Star he has never been “some bogeyman pulling the strings, behind the scenes for ‘white monopoly capital’.”
He, however, knows about the long-running accusations about his involvement with the EFF: “The latest one is that I had asked Julius Malema to go back to the ANC, which is far from the truth,” he was quoted as saying, adding that he believed the BLF and “similar propaganda organisations live in a world of fantasy”.
He said he had met Malema “just once”.
“I had a long meeting with him with a lot of people in London, at his request, and we had a discussion about all kinds of things.
“For instance, we advised him very strongly to stop talking in terms of violence and race-based policies. I said the policy of nationalisation, which he was advocating, did not work anywhere else in the world. We actually had a positive discussion about that with him, saying that there were other solutions possible,” he told Saturday Star.
“I have a completely different point of view from [Malema] but I would like to pay tribute to the role he has played against state capture,” added Renwick, who also had praise for President Cyril Ramaphosa.
His book deals with details around an alleegd R200 billion that was looted from the state through state capture, which he said was verified by former finance minister Pravin Gordhan.
He called the period in which Jacob Zuma led the country “a wasted decade”.
The fact that Renwick has dedicated his book to former public protector Thuli Madonsela, Gordhan, the South African press, the judiciary and civil society also hasn’t sat well with Mngxitama, a longtime Zuma defender, who went on a Twitter rant against Renwick on Saturday morning.
Take a look at his tweets below: