The head of Remgro, Johann Rupert File picture: Jeffrey Abrahams/ANA

Cape Town - Johann Rupert, the chairperson of Swiss-based luxury-goods company Richemont and South Africa-based company Remgro, has missed a seven-day deadline to retract a controversial statement he made at an annual general meeting in Geneva early last month.

The call for him to retract the statement that “the radical economic transformation policy of the ANC is a code word for theft” was made by the MK Inkululeko foundation on Friday last week, at the Remgro head office in Stellenbosch.

According to news reports, Rupert, who was speaking on the sidelines of Richemont’s annual general meeting in Geneva on Wednesday, also said: “That's what's happening there. They're raiding the state's coffers. And it's public knowledge.”

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The group of MK veterans was joined by the ANC Youth League and the Black First Land First movement in a march to deliver three memorandums to Remgro's head office in Stellenbosch. Company representative John Waterford only accepted only two of the three memorandums, saying the BLF marchers were not recognised as being officially part of the approved march.

Inkululeko Foundation head Sparks Motseki confirmed on Friday there had been no indication of an apology from Rupert.

“Today we were expecting a response from his office but nothing was received. Our lawyers are now ready to submit an application to the court to force him to publicly apologise for his statement early next week.

Johann Rupert is arrogant and opportunistic - ANC

“We appreciate they acknowledged our memorandum by accepting it, but Rupert must apologise and we won't back down.”

During the march with about 300 people, the foundation said Rupert's statement was “not conducive to a positive socio-economic transformation that is desperately needed in South Africa, has a potential of scaring foreign investment, is divisive and undermines government efforts to redress injustices and inequalities”.

Youth league spokesperson Siyabulela Tom told Weekend Argus the league would “put out a call that all products attached to his companies be boycotted”.

Weekend Argus