EFF deputy Floyd Shivambu had a rant about Oppenheimer family donations to political parties.

‘White power is re-asserting its dominance’, claimed Floyd Shivambu, the deputy president and ‘lieutenant commander-in-chief’ of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

He says ‘the Oppenheimer Empire is busy hijacking SA’s democratic project’.

Shivambu delivered himself of these opinions in a lengthy article, almost 5 000 words long. It is a bottomless pit of Marxist ranting against capitalism and the political donations of individuals who allegedly seek ‘the protection of South Africa’s capitalist status quo of massive wealth in the hands of few white people while the majority of our people live in absolute poverty, jobless and landless remains unchanged’.

That these people are donating to opposition parties suggests that they might not be best pleased with the ‘status quo’, but this probably did not occur to our learned friend Floyd.

He proceeds to list a number of people he claims are extended family members of the Oppenheimer clan, or ‘The Holy Family’, to put it in proper Marxian terms.

These have all donated varying amounts of between R500 000 and R15 million to either the Democratic Alliance (DA) or ActionSA. 

He also tries to drag the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) into the conspiracy, on the basis that its late lamented leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi accepted R5 million in Oppenheimer money for the establishment of Mangosuthu Technikon back in the 1970s. 

Political rights

In South Africa, the freedom to make political choices is enshrined in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. This right includes the freedom to form or campaign for a political party or cause, and the Political Party Funding Act of 2018 permits any private donor to give up to R15 million per year to any political party.

Shivambu does not claim that anyone did anything other than what they are legally permitted to do. The fact that some of the donors are white and Jewish does not preclude them from participating fully in South African politics. 

His view is that the donations by people loosely connected to the Oppenheimers grant that family ‘direct control’ of the DA, ActionSA and Rise Mzansi, and indirect control of the IFP. 

This, despite the fact that none of the donations Shivambu listed amount to more than a minority share of the respective parties’ total donations. It’s classic conspiracy theorising.

(Why he includes Rise Mzansi is beyond me, since he does not list any donations to that party, and it has not disclosed any donations to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). I suspect he meant to tag Build One SA, which received some money from one of the donors with a Jewish name, Martin Moshal, who also donated to the DA, ActionSA and the IFP. Shivambu denounces Moshal as ‘a Zionist apologist of apartheid Israel’, and claims that he single-handedly ‘coerces’ those parties to ‘side with apartheid Israel in their genocidal extinction of the Palestinian State and people’.)

Casting shade

However, Shivambu casts the most shade on the Oppenheimers. ‘The Oppenheimer Empire in South Africa is foundationally and continuously the personification of white dominance and the white capitalist domination, whose other side is black economic suppression and subjugation.’

Despite writing a tortuous history of the Oppenheimer family’s alleged behind-the-scenes machinations to establish and defend the capitalist exploitation of the working class – worthy of Machiavelli himself, in Shivambu’s telling – he omits the simple fact that the *Oppenheimers, like many South African Jews, did not support the National Party’s apartheid project. 

Harry Oppenheimer, in particular, supported the liberal Progressive Party and its policies, which were strongly opposed to racial segregation and white supremacy. He believed that granting more freedom and economic opportunity to South Africa’s black majority was both good politics and sound economic policy. 

So Shivambu’s analysis falls flat on the facts, which shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with the mid-twentieth-century Marxist rhetoric of the EFF. It is also shot through with anti-Semitic stereotypes that would have made Mussolini proud.


Attacking the identity of some of the funders of rival political parties appears at first glance to be a case of jealousy making you nasty.

The IEC keeps quarterly records of reported donations over R100 000 for the ten quarters up to quarter two of the 2023/24 financial year. 

The EFF has not reported any donations over R100 000 in the first two quarters of the 2023/24 financial year, and reported only R352 600 in the previous year, compared with tens of millions for its rivals in the DA, ActionSA and the ANC. 

It last hit the millions mark in the 2021/22 financial year, when it reported R3 148 176 in donations, competing again with tens of millions for its biggest rivals. 

So, which members of the lumpenproletariat had millions to give to the EFF? After all, reading Shivambu’s rant about money in politics, one wouldn’t expect the party to be accepting money from capitalist fat cats, would one?

In 2022/23, the EFF received two in-kind donations. Twaabam (Pty) Ltd provided R150 000 worth of food, transport, fuel and wages for five cooks – because comrades must eat – and Car Junction, a Durban-based exporter of used cars, donated just over R200 000 worth of branded t-shirts and caps. One hopes they came with EFF insignia and not Car Junction logos.

Corporate donors

The donors for the previous year are far more interesting, however. In 2021/22, the EFF reported receiving total donations worth just north of R3.1 million.

About R1.1 million in cash came from African Rainbow Minerals (ARM), the Black Economic Empowerment empire built by Patrice Motsepe, the dollar-billionaire and brother-in-law of ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa. He and his companies also fund the ANC, albeit considerably more generously.

It also reported an identical amount (R1 099 088, to be exact) received from Harmony Gold, of which Motsepe is chairman and in which ARM holds a BEE stake. 

Harmony Gold’s genealogy can be traced back to South Africa’s oldest colonial mining firm, Rand Mines, which was founded by British businessman Sir Ernest Cassel, nicknamed ‘Windsor Cassell’ for his close friendship with King Edward VII; German-born mining magnate Alfred Beit, after whom the town of Beitbridge is named, who controlled more than a third of all the gold produced at the Witwatersrand, and who co-founded De Beers with Cecil John Rhodes; and Edmond James de Rothschild, of the famed banking family. All three were Jewish capitalists, just like the Oppenheimers.

Ironically, the same two organisations, ARM and Harmony Gold, donated substantial amounts to the IFP, a party which Shivambu accused of being under the thumb of the Oppenheimers because of a 50-year-old debt.


The EFF also received R600 000 in cash and R150 000 in kind from 3Sixty Health, a sister company of 3Sixty Life, which was taken into curatorship at the exact same time as those donations, and has been implicated in some shady dealings with money that belongs to the members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa.

3Sixty Health has also donated to the ANC, also more generously than it donated to the EFF.

Then there’s R100 000 from South African Breweries, which is wholly owned by the Belgian brewery giant Anheuser-Busch Inbev, so that accounts for the European bourgeois capitalists, and then there’s another R100 000 from Sipho Maseko, which is frankly rather stingy, considering that he had just finished a nine-month tenure as Telkom’s CEO, where he earned R34.2 million for his trouble.

It is curious that all the donations the EFF reported for 2021/22 landed in the month of October 2021.  Given that it reported not a single further money donation over R100 000 before or since, one wonders how the EFF remains operational at all. 

Where does the money come from to rent great big stadiums in which thousands can venerate the glorious commander-in-chief, Julius Malema?


In his haste to weave a conspiracy theory about the Oppenheimers’ control over South Africa’s opposition parties, Shivambu neglected to clear that up. 

From what we know about the EFF’s finances – and I suspect we know far less than we are legally entitled to know – it is funded by mining magnates, a suspect insurance company, a multinational corporation and a fat-cat CEO.

It isn’t at all embarrassing for political parties who advocate free-market capitalism to accept donations from free market capitalists. 

However, for a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist-Fanonian party to take money from bourgeois capitalists seems awfully counter-revolutionary.

*Harry Oppenheimer was born Jewish and had a bar mitzvah, but converted to Anglicanism when he married his wife Bridget.

[Photo: EFF/FaceBook]

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR.

If you like what you have just read, support the Daily Friend.


Ivo Vegter is a freelance journalist, columnist and speaker who loves debunking myths and misconceptions, and addresses topics from the perspective of individual liberty and free markets.