Resign, for the kids, Johann Rupert urges Zuma

Dr. Johann Rupert
Dr. Johann Rupert

For the sake of our children’s future, please resign. This is an appeal to President Jacob Zuma from billionaire Johann Rupert, who was responding to reports that Zuma told a meeting of the ANC’s national executive committee that Rupert flew in specially from London to South Africa in December to scheme behind Zuma’s back.

This allegedly happened after Zuma decided to replace Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene with Des van Rooyen on December 9 last year.

A few days later, Van Rooyen was replaced by Pravin Gordhan. Zuma was reportedly persuaded to do so by senior party leaders and a delegation of businessmen.

Zuma had offered to resign as the president of the ANC on the weekend, according to a report by the Mail & Guardian yesterday. Members of the ANC’s NEC were quoted as saying that Zuma said they should tell him straight out if he should resign, rather than stabbing him in the back.

Rupert commented on a Netwerk24 article, titled “Zuma allegedly says: Tell me directly if I should step down”, that he didn’t fly out of London, as Zuma had alleged, because he was in South Africa, acting as chancellor at a University of Stellenbosch graduation.

Rupert is one of the first high-profile businessmen to speak out strongly about Zuma, the ANC’s failure to act against him and the direction the country was moving.

In his comment, Rupert implored President Zuma to “step aside and go back to your ANC branch”, especially if Zuma believed that he flew from London to South Africa to meet with a senior ANC leader and to demand that the appointment of Van Rooyen was reversed.

He said that, if Zuma’s information had not come from the Guptas, and if his information was correct, he would have known that Rupert was attending the graduation ceremony.

“How could I, therefore, fly back? Yes, for the children’s future, please resign.”

He said from the United States that he was “fed up” with the way Zuma managed the country.

“Now is the time for people to make their voices heard,” he said.

Business leaders must be prepared, as they were with the previous regime, to be unpopular, he said.

Rupert was in discussions with international businessmen and investors, who had warned him that that South Africa’s credit rating downgrade to junk was inevitable.

“It would mean a dollar will suddenly cost R30. The consequences will be far-reaching.”

Ian Cruickshanks, economist at the South African Institute of Race Relations, told Netwerk24 journalist Pauli van Wyk that Rupert’s comments were “weighty”.

“He is the first big businessman who to say these things in public and on the record.”

» Rupert is chairperson of Remgro.

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