Nathan Kirsh, a Jewish billionaire with links to several foreign governments, and whose family ran Primedia, was funding Mamphela Ramphele and Agang, and likely the donor pushing for the merger with the DA.
Kirsh has admitted knowing Ramphele and Zille but won’t comment on the DAgang.
Helen Zille has yet to reveal the details of how the merger came about, or if Kirsh is a DA donor, but has instead ensured that press statements slam Ramphele for deceit. Considering the many media that have shouted headlines against Ramphele, it’s a diversionary tactic that has so far worked. Unfortunately, it brings South Africa no nearer to the truth and the spirit of democracy.
WHO IS NATHAN KIRSH?
Kirsh was born in South Africa but carries a Swazi passport, having left our country in 1986. He has homes and residency status in the UK and the US. His companies are registered in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands and Liberia.
He is no stranger to mixing business with government and it’s no surprise to hear that he’s a property developer i.e. if proven that he is a DA donor or was the proposer of DAgang, it’s important to note the DA’s bias to property developers over the will of the public e.g. the Knysna ISDF tender award:
- His Kirsh Holdings Group owns Swazi Plaza Properties in equal partnership with the government-owned Swaziland Industrial Development Company (SIDC).
- Ki Corporation is into forestry, sugar and property development. As a primary shareholder of KiFin Limited, it failed in an attempt to take over the British property group, Minerva, with an offer equivalent to almost R1.3billion. KiFin Limited’s deputy chairman is Ron Sandler, advisor to Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the government-appointed Non-Executive Chairman of Northern Rock.
- Many of his business ventures fall under The Eurona Foundation which is a trust organized in Liechtenstein and registered in the Republic of Liberia. Kirsh is trustee along with Prince Michael von Liechtenstein. Kirsh has controlling stock.
- Mira Mag falls under said Eurona Foundation and is the controlling shareholder of Magal Security Systems, the Israeli security company which, in the words of ex-Jacob Even-Ezra, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, “is a manufacturer, developer, marketing and installer of security systems, mainly perimeter security systems. It started as a division of Israeli Aircraft Industry [still a shareholder] which is the biggest government outfit, to protect the borders of Israel.” Was severely criticised as the main supplier of electronic fences for the controversial security fence project in the West Bank which was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice. Kirsh is a Director. Jacob Perry, former head of the Shin Ben security service, took over as CEO from Even-Ezra but resigned in 2013 when becoming a Member of Knesset, the Israeli Parliament.
As of 2012, Kirsh owned 42% of Abacus Property Group (ABP) Ltd., the publicly traded Sydney-based real estate investment trust. He has been quoted as saying that real estate is the only sector where “stupid people” can make money”. However, the financial muscle behind his myriad business ventures has come from delivering groceries in the US, particularly New York.
At one stage, Kirsh’s son was the Chairman of Primedia whilst his nephew was the CEO. Among many other businesses, Primedia owns Eye Witness News, KFM, 567 Cape Talk, 702 Talk Radio and 94.7. Other ventures include advertising (billboard and indoor), Sterkinekor and Campus TV. Primedia also operates in the Middle East.
Primedia’s main shareholder is the Mineworkers Investment Company, a self-described “black empowerment company”, led by a Board of Directors closely linked to BP South Africa. BP’s has said that they are not considering fracking for shale oil and gas in South Africa but contradicted with, “We have not as yet prioritised shale in South Africa.” Another major shareholder is Brait SA, South Africa’s largest private equity company which manages third-party capital committed by a combination of international and South African investors. They own large shares in companies such as Pepkor and Premier Foods but their rapid increase in profits is attributable to debt and hedge fund investing. Kirsh Consortium was a major shareholder but, notably, has reduced their holdings.
IS DEMOCRACY FOR SALE?
This is a web that any politician would love to spin themselves into. If that is true, are Helen Zille and Mamphela Ramphele spiders or insects?
There is no proof of influence but there’s definitely enough at play to deserve questions and answers.
Is democracy still democracy if it’s bought?
For further information, read ‘The DA’s Relationship with Nathan Kirsh & Glynnis Breytenbach’.