RIGHT OF REPLY | Rob Hersov responds to criticism: I’m not leaving SA, and I’m not stopping

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Cape Town businessman Rob Hersov called President Cyril Ramaphosa 'useless' and a 'disgrace' in a speech that went viral earlier this month.
Cape Town businessman Rob Hersov called President Cyril Ramaphosa 'useless' and a 'disgrace' in a speech that went viral earlier this month.
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South Africans have become so acclimatised to the endless failures we experience and learn about on a daily basis, and yet so few leaders in business are prepared to say in public what they say to each other in private, writes Rob Hersov.


I think I understand why people who don't know me are taking a crack at me, or who criticise my language or maybe even my lack of respect for our so-called leaders - but my message is simply that the ANC has failed this country.

I have made that point on a number of occasions in a very robust (some would say coarse) manner.

South Africans have become so acclimatised to the endless failures we experience and learn about on a daily basis, and yet so few leaders in business are prepared to say in public what they say to each other in private - so I needed to be forceful and angry to be heard.


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And heard I was! The very next day two cabinet ministers called me (one to try and persuade me he wasn't useless and actually learned some of his mining skills at AngloVaal Mining).

The cabinet ministers complained about how I described them as useless, and that I lack respect for the state and that I should use formal channels.  They put my anger down to the fact that I was smarting from being denied my request to buy some regional airports when in fact this conference speech was made on 1 September, well before that approach. The speech was released at a later stage by BizNews.

A News24 opinion piece took a crack at me with a very personal unfounded attack from someone I've never met or spoken to, questioning even why I should have the 'confidence' to make this speech criticising the ANC.

READ | OPINION: Bruce Robertson - Rob Hersov, a graceless charlatan and patronising paper tiger

Well I have news for them. It's very clearly not just me! A recent poll by the Social Research Foundation (SRF) showed that South Africans believe the country is moving in the wrong direction. Another SRF survey showed that the majority of South Africans expect conditions to be worse after ten years if we continue with Cyril and the incompetent ANC. 

Why do I speak out? Because as Albert Einstein once said:

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.

Because as a consequence of the government's failures, hundreds of thousands of South Africans are going to bed every night hungry.

Because millions of children cannot study after the sun sets, because there is no electricity.

Growing unemployment

Because half of the young people in this country cannot aspire to ever having a job. Millions of young men and women are denied the opportunity to go out and work to improve the lives of their children.

Because there is a hideous crime crisis in this country, with women and children worst affected.

READ | Ebrahim Harvey: Food crisis - Children should not be going to bed hungry in post-apartheid SA

Because those who have the means to leave are doing so in droves - doctors, nurses, engineers, graduates, families - having given up hope that things will ever change or they can ever feel safe.

All of this chaos, destruction and hopelessness has been rained down upon us by the ANC, and the responsibility falls in the lap of Cyril and his cabinet of incompetence.

I love this incredible country dearly. I am a very proud South African and am not going to leave. I am not going to stop calling out the ANC. I am not going to stop encouraging others to speak out forcibly too.

I am not going to stop until such time as there is a South African government in place that does not serve its own interest but serves the interests of all its people.

Hopefully it won't be too late.

Cry! The Beloved Country.

- Rob Hersov is a South African businessman.

*Please note this article was updated on 21 September 2022 at 13:23 to reference the poll done by the Social Research Foundation.

*Want to respond to the columnist? Send your letter or article to opinions@news24.com with your name and town or province. You are welcome to also send a profile picture. We encourage a diversity of voices and views in our readers' submissions and reserve the right not to publish any and all submissions received.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

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