South African billionaire, Christo Wiese has slammed the ANC government and a recent Oxfam report for his continued harassment as one of the richest people in South Africa, according to a report by Fin24.
“There is a perverse obsession about the rich with little or no regard for what would happen to the poor if the rich are pulled down,” Wiese said, speaking at the FW de Klerk Foundation’s conference on the Constitution and governance on Thursday, 2 February.
“The question government must ask is: ‘What better person is there to be managing and investing money than a person with a proven track record to earn it justly?’”
Wiese was recently named by an Oxfam report as one of three people in South Africa whose wealth is equivalent to that of the bottom 50% of the country’s population.
Executive Director of Oxfam International, Winnie Byanyima personally slammed Wiese – alongside Glencore’s Ivan Glasenberg and Aspen Pharmacare’s Stephen Saad – for the obscene amount of wealth they had accumulated compared to South Africa’s poorest.
However, Wiese argued that Oxfam’s reporting was incorrect, and said that even if the correct wealth distribution report released, it would still not justify radical policy changes based on assumptions.
“To reach their sensationalist conclusion they have to make many dubious assumptions. The mere fact that a few who supposedly own too much keep changing, should get them to ponder the fluid and fickle nature of wealth. Proving that there is no such group as the rich.”
Wiese also highlighted that half of new title deed holders, most new business owners, vehicle buyers, insurance policy customers are black, but noted that there was a “serial silence” about that.
“The harsh truth is that the problem is poverty, whereas the narrative implies that the problem is wealth. Criticism is only directed at people who make money by employing thousands of people and supplying society, also the poor, with goods and services competitively.”
“Nowhere have I seen an allegation that what any of the so-called billionaires did to become wealthy was unfair or unjust to anyone. It can validly be argued that all they did was to make offers that people were free to accept or reject.”
According to Forbes’ 2017 African rich-list released in January 2017, Wiese’s estimated net worth is $5.5 billion. That currently makes him the third richest South African behind luxury goods manufacturer Johann Rupert ($5.5 billion) and diamond-magnate Nicky Oppenheimer ($7 Billion).