What influence do these mega-wealthy individuals exert on South Africa?

They have been described as the very worst example of white monopoly capital by EFF leader Julius Malema

08 July 2019 - 11:52
Pieter du Toit closely examines the control this 'club' has.
Pieter du Toit closely examines the control this 'club' has.
Image: Jonathan Ball Publishers

About 50km outside of Cape Town lies the picturesque town of Stellenbosch, nestled against vineyards and sky-high mountains.

Here reside some of South Africa’s wealthiest individuals: all male, all Afrikaans – and all stinking rich. Johann Rupert, Jannie Mouton, Markus Jooste and Christo Wiese, to name a few.

EFF leader Julius Malema scathingly refers to them as “The Stellenbosch Mafia”, the very worst example of white monopoly capital.

But who exactly are these mega-wealthy individuals, and what influence do they exert, not only on Stellenbosch, but on South African society as a whole?

Author Pieter du Toit begins by exploring the roots of Stellenbosch, one of the wealthiest towns in South Africa and arguably the cradle of Afrikanerdom. This is the birthplace of apartheid leaders, intellectuals, newspaper empires and more.

He then closely examines this “club” of billionaires. Who are they and, crucially, how are they connected? What network of boardroom membership, alliances and family connections exist? Who are the “old guard” and who are the ¹inkommers”, and what about the youngsters desperate to make their mark? He looks at the collapse of Steinhoff: what went wrong, and whether there are other companies at risk of a similar fate. Du Toit also examines the control these men have over cultural life, including pulling the strings in South African rugby.

Pieter du Toit is a political journalist and has held senior positions at a number of Afrikaans titles, including political correspondent and news editor at Die Beeld in Johannesburg. In 2017 he was appointed editor of Huffington Post South Africa. He has covered politics for more than a decade.