By Pinky Khoabane
IN the book South Africa Inc, The Oppenheimer Empire by David Pallister, Sarah Stewart and Ian Lepper, the opening chapters take us through a journey which guides us through the Oppenheimer monopoly. It is a practical guide meant to explain what monopolies are and what makes Nicky Oppenheimer, years after the book was written, the richest person in South Africa, according to Forbes Africa’s Billionaires list. His personal wealth is $7.7 billion (R89 billion).
Just about every aspect of their research touches on an Oppenheimer stamp as a symbol of this family’s reach. From the car they drove in, the buildings, suburbs, schools, elevators, lives of those they exploited and laws governing Blacks in South Africa, the Oppenheimers had a hand and ensured the subjugation of Blacks.
What the writers couldn’t have anticipated (and here Im being speculative) is that despite the blood and deaths of the Africans from which the Oppenheimers made their money, working with the apartheid government and propping-up some of their most vicious laws, democratic South Africa would give them an airport through which they could do whatever they wanted. As if that wasn’t enough, it so happens that they would also be the biggest beneficiary of the drought sweeping through the country. And so, every Jojo tank we see and there’s now an increased demand given the Western Cape “drought crisis” is benefitting the Oppenheimers.
According to Business Insider, the company that makes Jojo tanks, is owned by the Oppenheimer family’s investment group Stockdale Street, as well as Rand Merchant Bank, Pan African Private Equity Fund Managers, and JoJo executives.
The Oppenheimers invested in JoJo with a sliver of the $5.1 billion (R40 billion) they earned from selling their 40% stake in De Beers to Anglo American in 2011. According to Forbes Africa’s Billionaires list, Nicky Oppenheimer continues to be the richest person in South Africa, with personal wealth of $7.7 billion (R89 billion). His family’s Stockdale Street outfit bought JoJo from the previous owners, an Investec consortium, in 2012.
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