Graeme Joffe: Rupert vs Zupta ace – who’s your money on?

Many have fallen on the social media sword lately. None more so than former Standard Bank economist Chris Hart but where does one draw the line? Business tycoon Johann Rupert went on record calling for President Jacob Zuma’s resignation for the sake of the country’s children. Former Sunday Times columnist Pinky Khoabane, now an employee at The New Age and the country’s resident ‘Zupta Ace’ took to Twitter and attacked Rupert. While a robust debate is always encouraged, surely ‘so called liberals F*****g whites for their existence’ tweets fall deeper than Hart’s comments? Or are companies showing their true colours on how they react to employee frustrations? We’ll leave that to the Gupta run media house to decide. In Graeme Joffe’s piece, he aligns with Rupert, saying “there is no future for all kids in South Africa if the pillaging of state coffers isn’t stopped as a matter of urgency.” – Stuart Lowman

By Graeme Joffe*

It was a bold statement from South African business mogul, Johann Rupert calling for President Zuma to fall on his sword and one that needed to be made.

There doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by without a new scandal of deeply rooted corruption linked to the SA government and it is time for people to speak up.

And just before people throw the race card at me, please do some research as to the contribution our Township TV made to society. Yes, it was a business but above all, a social responsibility project that uplifted communites and changed lives for seven years before its closure due to state corruption.

It was the most humbling project I’ve ever been involved in. I cried the day we launched in Diepsloot in 2007. Ironically, it rained the same day in the park and I will never forget the words of: “Umlungu, thank you for what you are doing for us.”

Township TV launch in Diepsloot in 2007.

I didn’t need thanks. A friend had a dream to make SA better and I had the passion.

Township TV created job opportunities, got kids off the street into a safe environment, we educated and wanted to create new sporting icons for the country.

We made smiles.

township TV smiles
Township TV smiles

Why is it made so tough to try and make a difference in SA?

The red tape and those officials wanting backhanders can make you sick. In the end, they stole it anyway with no thought for the less fortunate.

Today, all that remains of Township TV are the shells of the twenty TV fan parks around the country. Why is it made so tough to try and make a difference in SA?

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”Martin Luther King, Jr.

But not everyone felt the same way about Rupert’s urgings.

Well, maybe a formal response would have been better before the former Sunday Times columnist started spewing so much hatred out on social media.

Does Khoabane know exactly how Rupert made his money and how much he gives back to South Africa?

I’m no financial guru as I barely managed to get through Economics 101 at Rhodes University but I can tell you the passion he has for SA sport and what he gives back is almost incomparable.

Not only does Rupert oversee the game of golf in SA (which is by far our most successful sporting code) but he puts back millions of his own money into the game for development. In addition to quietly funding a number of other athletes and sports. I only know about this as I know a few of his associates.

Rupert is one of the most patriotic South Africans who wants nothing but the best for the country. He could leave tomorrow with his off shore wealth but he chooses to make a difference by standing up.

Chris Hart's tweets
Chris Hart’s tweet history which saw him suspended as chief economist at Standard Bank, he later resigned from his post.

SA needs more like him.

But when you speak out against the state, you are immediately a target.

I know first-hand, having exposed corruption in SA sport for the last five years and having to fight a R21.1 million defamation lawsuit on my own as a freelance journalist. They want to bully you and silence you until you fall in line. They crossed the line with the threat to my safety.

As someone explained to me in layman’s terms: “The old government stole 25c of the rand and put 75c back into maintenance and running of the country. This government steals R1.25 of the rand and the country cannot survive.”

It’s this sense of entitlement that is killing the country. Let your country work for you instead of working for your country.

What kind of precedent is that for the millions of people who live in poverty?

There is no future for all kids in South Africa if the pillaging of state coffers isn’t stopped as a matter of urgency.

Rupert is right.

  • Graeme Joffe is a former CNN International and 94.7 sportscaster who investigates corruption in South African sport. He fled his homeland after being warned that his life was in danger.
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