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I’m no racist, says the mogul after making fun of president

Businessman Louis Liebenberg. | Supplied

Businessman Louis Liebenberg. | Supplied

Published Jul 6, 2023


Johannesburg - Founder of Tariomix, Louis Liebenberg, who has been accused of making “racist” fun of President Cyril Ramaphosa following a social media video clip imitating the president’s speech patterns, insists he is not racist and his video was meant to be a light-hearted observation.

In the video, the businessman, who was referred to the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) over the clip, said he usually posted videos of himself almost on a weekly basis and once posted a video of himself crying.

However, in his defence, the SAHRC ruled that the complaint brought by the DA did not meet the hate speech threshold and was therefore rejected in terms of Section 10(1) of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.

Last year, reports that the 58-year-old businessman was racist surfaced again after a heated argument between him and ex-girlfriend Teresa Coetzee, where he allegedly said the apartheid government should have wiped out Soweto with an atomic bomb.

In a recent sit-down with The Star, Liebenberg argued that he was not racist, and even though he might have erred, he simply projected, in a moment of weakness, South Africa’s underlying racial intolerance, which happened to most white people when they were frustrated.

“I am not racist. I might have spoken or uttered a racist word out of frustration that one time in my life, but I believe that I am not racist. I grew up conflicted by my right-wing culture, and looking back, I understand how conflicted my background and culture have been. One thing I know about myself is that I do not want to see our country destroyed just because I am an Afrikaner,” Liebenberg told The Star.

“I admit to having addressed the issue of President Cyril Ramaphosa in a dramatic manner on social media. Sometimes I am dramatic about addressing things on social media. I do not have hate against President Cyril Ramaphosa, and my support for former president Zuma comes from the fact that I have done my research and I have read the books written about him that paint him as having captured the state, and that, for me, is the biggest problem,” he said.

He said his main drive was to rescue the people of Namaqualand, who were struggling to make ends meet due to a lack of support for their mining and insufficient service delivery and social housing. His mining endeavours continued to receive rejection from political players in the area.

“I see it as my duty to help the people of Namaqualand through our mining activities there. However, there is political interference that is not making it easy for us to realise this,” he said.

“These resilient people have long been witness to the exploitation of their land’s rich mineral resources, with little to no benefit trickling down to them.”

The Star