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Johannesburg - More than two-thirds of Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele’s R55 million personal wealth came from BEE deals.
The Star can reveal that Ramphele, who has been rubbishing BEE as a “failed” policy that “enriched a tiny politically connected elite”, has benefited from black empowerment deals worth R40m since 1994.
She was given shares in Eduloan, Nashua Western Cape, Pearsons, Solar Capital and private hospital group MediClinic.
Ironically, Agang’s economic policy posted on the party’s website states that “the way BEE has been applied has failed in its primary purpose of transforming the economy but has created high compliance costs and only enriched a tiny politically connected elite”.
Ramphele, who has publicly disclosed her personal finances and dared President Jacob Zuma to do the same, for the sake of transparency, has since sold the Eduloan and Nashua shares.
On Thursday, Ramphele, through her spokesman, Adi Mistry-Frost, confirmed that she benefited from R40m worth of BEE deals in five companies. However, she denied she was a hypocrite who rubbished the very policy that benefited her for political expediency.
“With the exception of Pearsons, the BEE deals Dr Ramphele has been involved in were part of her remuneration as a chairperson or director.
In helping to lead these companies, Dr Ramphele has therefore been in a position to add value to the company by pursuing growth, job creation and, above all, championing the transformation agenda,” said Mistry-Frost.
Ramphele’s office said she was consulting with party members to form Agang SA’s BEE policy, “because it is clear that people feel BEE has not been correctly implemented”.
She denied she was selective in her quest for transparency by targeting Zuma, instead of calling on all senior ANC and opposition politicians to come clean.
“It is the president above all, as the first citizen, who should set the right example for the rest of the country to follow. That is why Dr Ramphele has called on President Zuma to disclose his personal finances to the people of South Africa.”
Mistry-Frost said Ramphele was not prepared to disclose the financial interests of her immediate family members because she had disclosed hers in her capacity as Agang leader.
She added that “the party would not disclose its funders unless they specifically tell us to do so”.
This came as the ANC descended on Ramphele, labelling her a misguided populist whose “show-off stunt does not assist the poor or the fight against corruption”.
National ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu maintained the constitution, the Executive Members Ethics Act and Sars were enough to ensure public representatives declared their financial interests or else faced criminal charges.
He said the country needed leaders who were committed to eradicating poverty, unemployment and inequality rather than “politics of personality and flaunting one’s personal wealth in the face of our people”.
“The ANC has been part of a progressive body of opinion in our society that believes in the need to inculcate values of humility and service among our people, discouraging the so-called Izikhothane tendencies as demonstrated yesterday,” Mthembu added.
Political analyst Professor Tinyiko Maluleke said Ramphele’s attempt to project an image of transparency and honesty could backfire if interpreted differently.
“One way of reading her declaration is for people to say ‘Wow, so much money amassed by one person in a country where half the population is poverty-stricken?’.
“Were you also honest and transparent in the means you used to acquire the wealth? Is that all you have? People might say she’s too rich to identify with me, or she might be seen as a role-model and idolised for her wealth,” he said.