State capture pays – at R10.7bn, Gupta now outstrips Rupert

The most fascinating value-add in the worthy Sunday Times revelations about Atul Gupta’s vast wealth was missed entirely yesterday. The story failed to capture how quickly Gupta amassed his fortune versus how long it took Johann Rupert to become fabulously wealthy. My guess is that Gupta’s Zuma-fuelled Ferrari leaves Rupert metaphorically tinkering with his engine, well behind the starter’s flag. There’s been plenty of quick, nasty propagandistic bids by populist politicians, in particular the EFF, to try and paint Rupert with the same brush as Gupta, for example, alleging he had undue influence over the SA Revenue Services. Not to be outdone (take it from whence it comes) Msholozi’s son, Edward, director of nearly a dozen companies and tied to at least 34, laid a criminal charge against Rupert for “capturing the state before and after 1994”. Rupert denies ever having done business with government. If there is something to be admired in Edward Zuma, who defaulted on a multi-million loan, owed R1m to his wedding planner and allegedly dealt in contraband cigarettes, it’s his fierce loyalty to his father. Ironically his Zulu name (Mziwoxolo) translates as “[coming from] the house of forgiveness”. Nobody in this fight-to-the-death drama will be asking anyone’s forgiveness anytime soon. That’s worth betting your hard-earned money on. – Chris Bateman

By Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg – Atul Gupta, close friend to President Jacob Zuma and chairperson at Oakbay Resources and Energy, is wealthier than Richemont chairperson, Johann Rupert.

This is according to the Business Times Rich List 2016, released on Sunday. According to the report by Sunday Times, Atul Gupta is the seventh wealthiest South African and the top earning black businessman.

Johann Rupert, Richemont chairman
Johann Rupert, Richemont chairman

Gupta’s personal wealth is valued at R10.7bn, more than Rupert’s R10.6bn. Gupta did not feature on the list last year as Oakbay Holdings was only listed in November 2014, according to the Sunday Times.

Earlier this year the five major South African banks closed the Guptas’ business accounts on suspicion of money laundering. An affidavit submitted by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in October highlights 72 suspicious transactions by the Gupta family worth R6.8bn.

According to the list, Rupert’s R10.6bn is attributed to his 100% stake in Remgro. Last month Rupert announced the abolishment of the CEO position at his Swiss business Richemont, as part of a largescale management overhaul. This was subsequently followed by the announcement of 210 job cuts at the Swiss watchmaking business as demand for gold and jewellery watches declines.

Politicians also took a dig at Rupert this year, raising suspicion over his wealth. EFF leader Julius Malema accused Rupert of having influence over the South African Revenue Services (Sars). Earlier this year Edward Zuma, the president’s son, opened a criminal case against Rupert for capturing the state before and after 1994.

In response to these claims, Rupert said that he had never done business with the state as he did not trust it. He added that the private sector created jobs, where government failed to do so.

Billionaire Christo Wiese topped the Rich List with R81bn. Glencore’s Ivan Glasenberg ranked second with R59.9bn.

Among those in the top 10 include PSG’s Jannie Mouton with R9.8bn and Naspers Group chairperson Koos Bekker came in with R9.6bn.

Patrice Motsepe, who has been a leading black business man on the list just missed the top 10, ranking eleventh with R9.5bn.

CEO of financial services group, Discovery, Adrian Gore made it to the top 20 this year, ranking fifteenth with a value of R5.5bn.

Shoprite’s Whitey Basson fell from ninth place in the previous year to position 29 with R1.7bn. Basson recently announced his retirement from the retailer group, after 37 years of service.

The list is compiled by Who Owns Whom. It is based on the value of disclosed director’s holdings in JSE Listed companies. – News24