A new book alleges that Floyd Shivambu has close ties to Johann Rupert, and that the two worked together in politics, public image management and a personal project.
A new book contains allegations that EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu may be closer to a top white businessman from Stellenbosch than he would care to publicly admit.
Called The Stellenbosch Mafia, the book, released today by News24 investigations editor Pieter du Toit, claims Shivambu fed information on the ANC’s Nasrec conference to Johann Rupert, one of the country’s richest men.
It also claims that Shivambu convinced Rupert to do an interview on PowerFM to boost his image.
Before the book was published, Shivambu declined via WhatsApp to comment about his relationship with Rupert.
But after City Press sent him questions, he sent Du Toit WhatsApp messages with veiled threats to sue.
“I established you are writing a book which mentions my name and I was not made aware of that. Furthermore, the allegations that are being put by the City Press journalist and the reported confirmation by Rupert were never brought to my attention,” he said to Du Toit on Friday night.
“I request/demand that you present me with all allegations you are making against me so that I [may] present my side... If you distort information and tell lies about me, I will reserve my rights.”
In the book, Du Toit writes that while EFF leader Julius Malema was speaking against Rupert, Shivambu was “cultivating a relationship with the ultimate so-called white monopoly capitalist”.
“During the ANC’s brutal presidential election in 2017, Shivambu was one of Rupert’s go-to men in his informal intelligence network, sometimes explaining the inner workings of the governing party’s processes and procedures – and often giving Rupert a heads-up before major developments in the party. [During the height of the contest, Shivambu told Rupert that Cyril Ramaphosa would win the leadership race],” the book states.
“And while his party leader was attacking Rupert on any platform and ranting about white monopoly capital, Shivambu advised Rupert to set the record straight in public and suggested ways he might achieve that.
‘Believe it if you will,’ said Rupert, ‘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 claims that Shivambu, who asked for Rupert’s help with a personal project, “seemed concerned that the public and political image created of the Remgro chairperson was unfair and harsh”.
The personal project was to build a hospital in the Giyani area in Limpopo, and Du Toit writes that Shivambu and an EFF colleague went to see Rupert and GT Ferreira, chairperson of RMI Holdings and co-founder of FirstRand Bank.
The book quotes Rupert saying: “We had lunch together at Tokara, Ferreira’s wine estate... They had two businessmen that already built a couple of Spar supermarkets and wanted to work with Mediclinic. I told them that we couldn’t, but maybe Jannie [Durand, Remgro nonexecutive director] could.
“Jannie then took them to Fleur du Cap, the farm my father bought and 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,” Rupert is quoted saying.
Durand told City Press that he met Shivambu to discuss the hospital project after Shivambu approached him on WhatsApp, but at a conference centre in Somerset West. The meeting, which lasted “45 minutes to an hour”, took place in January 2017, he said.
He said he and Mediclinic chairperson Edwin Hertzog agreed to look at the project, but Shivambu “never came back to us”.
Ferreira declined to comment to City Press.
On Friday night, Shivambu responded saying he was not “aware of any hospital project in Giyani” and did not have “any relationship with Rupert and have never had any relationship with him”.
He denied the claims in the book, saying: “How can I feed information on the ANC conference when I am not a member of the ANC and was not attending their conference?
“It’s absolute rubbish that anyone could think and believe that I was involved in ANC conference matters. There is not a single ANC member or delegate who can sanely claim that I ever spoke to them about the ANC conference.
“I never organised any interview for Rupert with PowerFM. PowerFM has its own people and I am not involved in who gets interviewed there.”
Shivambu said the publication of the allegations was an “attempt to divert attention” from the fact that the EFF “wrote to the Public Protector, who reached adverse findings against Pravin Gordhan and President Cyril Ramaphosa”.
“I have not seen the book and have not read it, but if it makes defamatory and untrue allegations against me, I will reserve my rights and take action against lies,” he said.