Making an Impact in Land Reform

Making an Impact in Land Reform

Restoring property rights through title deeds

Current position: Chairman, Richemont & Remgro
Age: 68 years old
Almer mater: Stellenbosch University
Family: Married to Gaynor (3 Children)

-Founded the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in 1990. Laures funds 65 projects globally, with the goal of using sport to tackle social issues, having a particular emphasis on underprivileged children.

-Co-founded the Sports Science Institute with Morne du Plessis and Tim Noakes.

-Developed the Gary Player designed, Leopard Creek Golf Club in Mpumalanga, South Africa which is one of South Africa’s top three golf courses, and rated number 25 outside the United States of America (Golf Digest).

-He serves as Chairman of the South African PGA Tour and Chairman of the South African Golf Development Board.

-In 2007 he was elected into South African Sports Hall of Fame and in 2009 was inducted into South African Golf Hall of Fame.

-He was council member of The South Africa Foundation and trustee of the Southern African Nature Foundation, The Institute of Directors in Southern Africa, Business South Africa and Die Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns and Managing Trustee and member of the investment committee, Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. He served on the Daimler Chrysler International Advisory Board.

-Johann is also a committed conservationist. In addition to conserving about 25,000 hectares in the Graaff Reinet area, he is also Chairman of the Peace Parks Foundation
Johann Rupert is South Africa’s second wealthiest individual with a net worth estimated at around $5,3 billion as of June 2018 according to Bloomberg. He is a South African born entrepreneur who is the eldest son of business tycoon Anton Rupert. Currently he is Chairman of luxury goods business Richemont and Remgro. They own and market prestige brands such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Mont Blanc and Alfred Dunhill. Remgro’s portfolio includes Mediclinic, Rand Merchant Bank Holdings, First Rand and Distell.

He is more renowned for building multi-million international businesses in banking and luxury goods than investing in real estate. Although he does own residential and commercial real estate both in his personal capacity and businesses his focus and successes are in the business sector. More recently he has contributed to the social issues of real estate in the Khaya Lam project.

Rupert grew up in Stellenbosch, where he attended Paul Roos Gymnasium and the University of Stellenbosch, studying economics and company law. He dropped out of the university to pursue a career in business, however, in 2004, the university awarded him an honorary doctorate in Economics.

In 2008, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in Commerce from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Described as “reclusive” by the Financial Times and Barron’s, Rupert rarely gives interviews and shuns public events. In 2006 the same newspaper also called him “Rupert the Bear” for predicting a world economic crisis. Today he is calling a similar tune where he expresses concern over the current economic outlook. He predicts that the United States will be in recession in 2020 mainly caused by President Donald Trump’s focus on trade wars, fascism and populist approach. He says this is very similar signals and build-up to the great depression. This also presents major business opportunities and he believes a wait and see approach might be the best policy as potential acquisitions are still overpriced.

Rupert’s business career reads like a seasoned business professional. He first served his business apprenticeship in New York City, where he worked for Chase Manhattan Bank for two years and for Lazard Freres for three years. He then returned to South Africa in 1979 and founded Rand Merchant Bank of which he was CEO.

1984: Merged RMB and Rand Consolidated Investments, and left to join his father’s company, the Rembrandt Group.
1988: Founded Compagnie Financiere Richemont in 1988 and was appointed Non-Executive Director of Rothmans International plc in 1988. He was named “Businessman of the Year” by the Sunday Times in the same year.
1989: Appointed Vice Chairman of the Rembrandt Group.
1990: Named business leader of the year by Die Burger newspaper and the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce. Formed the Vendôme Luxury Group SA.
1991: Appointed Chairman of Rembrandt Group Limited and in 1992 he was named one of 200 “Global Leaders of Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland.
1993: Received the M.S. Louw Award from the A.H.I. (“Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut”).
1996: Named Sunday Times Business Times’s Businessman of the Year for second time.
1997: Appointed Non-Executive Chairman of Gold Fields South Africa Ltd.
1999: Awarded the 1999 Free Market Award by The Free Market Foundation of South Africa.
2000: Restructured Rembrandt Group Limited and formed Remgro Limited and VenFin Limited. Appointed Chairman and Chief Executive of Compagnie Financière Richemont SA. Voted “Most influential Business Leader” in South Africa by CEOs of top 100 Listed Companies
2004: Awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Economics by the University of Stellenbosch.
2008: Voted South Africa’s Business Leader of the Year by the CEOs of the Top 100 Companies, for the third time.
2009: Appointed “Officier” of the French “Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur” by the President of the French Republic. Selected as the 2009 International Wine Entrepreneur of the Year at the Meininger “Excellence in Wine and Spirit” awards ceremony in Düsseldorf, Germany. Appointed Chancellor of Stellenbosch University
2010: Made Honorary Vice President of the European Golf Tour Awarded Honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of St Andrews, Scotland

Recently, he was unfairly targeted and he had a number of smear campaigns and fake scandals created against him when he asked former President Jacob Zuma President in 2016.

Khaya Lam project
For the first time since the end of Apartheid, 326 residents of Stellenbosch will own their own homes. This has been made possible by the sponsorship of R10 million…. by Johann and Gaynor Rupert in partnership with the FMF’s Khaya Lam (my home) land reform project. Title deeds make a tangible difference to the lives of ordinary South Africans. The aim is to help bring about economic and social transformation through property ownership. This means that …..

In a moving ceremony held in Stellenbosch on Monday, 3 December 2018, 326 titles were handed to people who normally would not be able to afford them. Johann contributed almost R10 million to the Free Market Foundation’s Khaya Lam (meaning ‘My home’) land reform project. The project has been led by Leon Louw CEO of the Free Market Foundation whose main goal is to create wealth for common people who normally would not be able to afford to buy land or a property. Johann Rupert has partnered with Khaya Lam to make a tangible difference to the lives of ordinary South Africans. The aim is to help bring about economic and social transformation through property ownership.

In his key note address the Mayor of Stellenbosch Municipality Councillor Gerard van Deventer said…
What is the Khaya Lam (My Home) Land Reform Project?

Under the apartheid government, millions of South Africans were unfairly dispossessed of their land. Khaya Lam aims to correct these injustices by helping black South Africans secure title deeds to council-owned properties in which they have lived for decades.

In South Africa, ownership of fixed property is not secure until you have a Title Deed. Although, by a stroke of a pen, thousands of occupants of rental properties became legal owners of their homes in 1991, they received no documents confirming their ownership rights. The FMF created the Khaya Lam project to show the way to dealing with the problem.

With the cooperation of partnering municipalities and amazing donors, the project has presented, and is in the process of completing, 3361 households with titles to their properties in 7 municipalities, 1860 of these title deeds in the pilot municipality of Ngwathe, which is presided over by Mayor Joey Mochela, a very enthusiastic supporter of the project.

Khaya Lam has received further funds and firm promises for the presentation of 3332 more title deeds, making a total of 6693 titles to date. Khaya Lam does not expect, by itself, to make a large dent in the 5 million properties potentially available for titling.

What Khaya Lam has done is to show the way, to encourage others to get involved, including municipalities and central government. To make clear that this is a task that should have been carried out at least 20 years ago. One of the motivating forces for the project are the words of the late South African President Nelson Mandela “A man is not a man until he has a house of his own”. (Long Walk to Freedom)

“A man is not a man until he has a house of his own”. NELSON MANDELA – Long Walk to Freedom)

About Free Market Foundation (FMF)
The FMF is an independent, non-profit, public benefit organisation, created in 1975 by pro-free market business and civil society national bodies to work for a non-racial, free and prosperous South Africa. As a policy organisation it promotes sound economic policies and the principles of good law.

As a think tank it seeks and puts forward solutions to some of the country’s most pressing problems: unemployment, poverty, growth, education, health care, electricity supply, and more. The FMF was instrumental in the post-apartheid negotiations and directly influenced the Constitutional Commission to include the property rights clause: a critical cornerstone of economic freedom.




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