Grocery misconduct: Protesters hurl washing powder, soup as they demand Rupert retract remarks

2017-09-29 13:36
Protesters outside Remgro in Stellenbosch. (Aljoscha Kohlstock/News24)

Protesters outside Remgro in Stellenbosch. (Aljoscha Kohlstock/News24)

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Cape Town – Billionaire businessman Johann Rupert must retract his remarks equating radical economic transformation to theft, or face court action.

This was the demand of around 60 members of the MK Inkululeko Foundation, who protested outside Remgro in Stellenbosch on Friday.

Dressed in army fatigues, the foundation members marched in a row to the entrance of the office park, while police watched on.

Not deterred by a tiring overnight bus ride from Johannesburg, they scattered washing powder on the road and kicked margarine and body creams around.

Rupert is the chairman of Remgro, which had a shareholding in Unilever*. The household products were made by Unilever.

He had reportedly said that radical economic transformation was "just a code word for theft".

Speaking on the sidelines of Richemont's annual general meeting in Geneva, Bloomberg also reported him as saying: "That’s what’s happening there. They’re raiding the state’s coffers. And it’s public knowledge."

'Extremely opportunistic'

The protesters carried posters referring to the "Republic of Rupert" as the "real state capture".

Mention was made of the need to change the country's economic structure, to favour small operators and black entrants, in the foundation's memorandum.

"BBBEE legislation and policies are not a 'code of theft' but just a tool used for much needed socioeconomic transformation," stated foundation convenor Sparks Motseki.

He said Rupert's comments were divisive and undermined government's efforts to redress inequality and injustice.

They also had the potential of scaring off investors.

Motseki said that should Rupert not retract his remarks on national TV/and or newspapers within seven days, they would have no option but to go the legal route.

WATCH: Rupert must retract the comments that he made - Carl Niehaus

The ANC had previously said Rupert's statement was disingenuous and "extremely opportunistic".

The Western Cape ANCYL said the remarks were a clear indication of business arrogance "mainly dominated by white males", who they felt disregarded the country's political leaders.

*Unilever was set to acquire Remgro’s 25.75% shareholding in Unilever South Africa Holdings (Pty) Ltd (Unilever SA) in exchange for the Unilever Spreads business in Southern Africa as well as a cash consideration of ZAR4.9 billion, representing a transaction value of ZAR11.9 billion.

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Read more on:    remgro  |  umkhonto wesizwe  |  johann rupert  |  cape town  |  protests  |  radical economic transformation
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