Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Floyd Shivambu has responded on Twitter following reports over the weekend of a new book by News24 investigations editor Pieter du Toit, The Stellenbosch Mafia, which alleges that billionaire businessman Johann Rupert and Shivambu enjoyed a close relationship.
Shivambu accused Du Toit of claiming he had not responded to questions before the book’s release, and shared WhatsApp messages showing that he did indeed respond in February. Du Toit, however, told The Citizen that Shivambu’s responses are indeed recorded in the book and that suggestions that he “declined via WhatsApp to comment” come not from the book itself but from an article about it in City Press.
“These hired guns are desperate to tell LIES!” Shivambu’s tweet concludes.
According to the screenshots, Shivambu’s reacted to Du Toit’s questions with blanket denials.
Du Toit asked if Shivambu had met Rupert, and if so how many times, if he had visited his home, if he’d ever asked him for assistance, if he’d advised Rupert do an interview on PowerFM, and if the EFF had ever received support from Rupert.
Shivambu simply said no to each of the above questions.
Du Toit was clear that he had never claimed in his book that Shivambu didn’t respond to questions.
“His denials are clearly recorded in my book,” he said.
According to City Press, Shivambu sent Du Toit “veiled threats to sue” on Friday night following questions from the publication.
The author of the book @PieterDuToit says before he published the book, I declined via WhatsApp to comment about the illusionary relationship with Rupert. But here are February text messages via WhatsApp that clearly state my position. These hired guns are desperate to tell LIES! https://t.co/dN6vwwiSIu pic.twitter.com/2LRBN3QqNb
— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) July 22, 2019
In The Stellenbosch Mafia, Du Toit claims Shivambu’s relationship with Rupert extended to Shivambu sharing information on the ANC Nasrec conference with Rupert, according to News24.
It is also claimed that the businessman advised Shivambu to be interviewed on Power FM.
Rupert is alleged to have told Du Toit, “Believe it if you will but Floyd Shivambu advised me to do the PowerFM interview.
“Once he got to know me, when he realised what I was actually doing, that I was opposed to apartheid and who I knew [during the struggle] he said, ‘But nobody knows this. You’ve got to go on Given Mkhari’s show and do the chairman’s conversation.'”
The book further claims that Shivambu and Rupert worked together on a personal project of Shivambu’s – a hospital in the Giyani area of Limpopo.
In the book, Rupert is quoted as saying, “We had lunch together at Tokara, Ferreira’s wine estate… Jannie then took them to Fleur de Cap, the farm my father bought that is now owned by Remgro. I was concerned that they might think that all white people live like that because they already believe we bathe in champagne.”
A separate story in the Sunday Independent over the weekend showed text messages which appear to show a souring of Shivambu and Rupert’s allegedly close relationship.
Shivambu is quoted through a series of texts from last February with Rupert where he accuses Rupert of looting the country and accumulating “ill-gotten wealth” owing to apartheid and his whiteness.
According to the Sunday Independent, Rupert responded: “I have not looted anything and am very disappointed in you for this BS. Thought you were more honourable and intelligent than this. Goodbye and good luck.”
Rupert, however, denies the text messages and has also claimed to not know Floyd Shivambu’s telephone number.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Additional reporting, Warren Robertson)