Johannesburg - One of South Africa's wealthiest businessmen, Johann Rupert
, said on Wednesday he is surprised that the ANC has allowed its youth league to attack him.
Rupert told I-Net Bridge the ANC knew that he and his father never funded or had any connections with the former National Party.
Earlier on Wednesday the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), as part of its reaction to questions about its president Julius Malema
's trust fund, claimed the Rupert family was the majority shareholder of "the Afrikaner dominated and controlled Naspers Group, of which senior management is 100% white and male".
The ANCYL added that Naspers [JSE:NPN]
owns Media24, which controls Rapport, Die Beeld, City Press and the Daily Sun newspapers.
City Press newspaper on Sunday reported that Limpopo businessmen paid money into Malema's trust fund account in return for government tenders. The ANCYL has denied this.
"All these publications replicate the apartheid ideology of white supremacy and portray black people as corrupt or superstitious human beings with no potential to develop and engage in conscious social, political and economic issues confronting SA."
However, Rupert said it was news to him - and it would be news to Naspers' Koos Bekker
too - that the Rupert family had any influence over the media group.
"If we have any shares they are miniscule - it could only be a couple of thousand shares that my late father (Anton Rupert) owned originally."
Rupert is chairperson of luxury goods group Richemont.
The ANCYL also said it wanted to know how much farm and agricultural land the Rupert family owned in SA today and how the family had acquired this land. Criticised in the past
Rupert - who was clearly amused at the ANCYL's allegations - said both he and his father had been criticised in the past by Naspers for being against apartheid.
"People know it and the ANC leaders know it."
This is not the first time that the Rupert family has been attacked by the ANCYL.
"It's the fifth or sixth time they've had a go at our family, making allegations that we hide in Stellenbosch. My record and my family's record against racism speak for itself."
One of SA's largest banks, Absa Group [JSE:ASA], was also fingered by the ANCYL.
"What is the role of Absa, whose CEO Mario (sic) Ramos has publicly opposed the policy positions of the ANCYL, particularly on the nationalisation of mines?"
And then it was agricultural organisation AfriForum's turn.
The ANCYL claimed that the relationship between Media24 "and right-wing formations, in particular AfriForum", should be explained because AfriForum has been running "STOP MALEMA" adverts in Media24 publications for free "for many months now".
At the weekend, AfriForum opened a corruption case against the ANCYL president following the City Press report on Malema's trust fund.
AfriForum laid the complaint in accordance with the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004.
* Fin24 is a Naspers publication.