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Stop CR17 donors from exploiting coronavirus for profits

Stavros Nicolaou. Image credit: SA Pharmacy Council

The country is facing a serious health crisis but the donors of the Cr17 campaign sees this as an opportunity to loot.

One of the key donors of the CR17 campaign, one Stavros Nicolaou of Aspen – which donated millions of rand to the CR17 campaign through the Hellenic, Italian and Portuguese Alliance (HIP Alliance) – has made a proposal to loot through the coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, leaked CR17 campaign records show that Nicolaou mobilized 23 other prominent businessmen to also donate into the CR17 campaign.

Stavros Nicolaou, has now emerged with a shameful proposal to set up a Coronavirus Fund. Aspen the company that he represents is a pharmaceutical conglomerate and Africa’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer where incidentally the Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan has shares. Nicolaou’s indecent proposal presented to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), in the main suggests that money under the Ministry of Public Enterprises earmarked for State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) be diverted to this fund. Basically, Stavros Nicolaou is saying that Pravin Gordhan must set up a slush fund to be looted by Aspen for the mutual benefit of the CR17 campaign donors, including Pravin Gordhan.

Aspen is already a beneficiary of pharmaceutical state tenders worth R2 billion. Stavros Nicolaou knows that under conditions of an epidemic, tender rules are relaxed and Aspen by virtue of its closeness to the President of the country stands to benefit immensely from such a fund.

Black First Land First (BLF) says no to looting through the epidemic of the coronavirus. We call on President Ramaphosa to show character and eject Aspen from any interventions on the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a shameless act on Aspen’s part to use a tragedy for profits. Furthermore, the Stavros Nicolaou indecent proposal is consistent with the plan to destroy the SOEs so as to justify privatization to benefit the CR17 donors.

Whilst a fund to respond to the coronavirus epidemic is important, it cannot be a fund established for the purpose of the friends of the President looting it – nor can such a fund be proposed by the pharmaceutical industry.

President Ramaphosa is too compromised by his donors. It is clear that white monopoly capital (WMC) doesn’t want the coronavirus epidemic contained because it’s a big business opportunity. This may explain the less than decisive measures proposed by President Ramaphosa after consulting with stakeholders. The nation was left waiting for the statement from the President last Sunday. Who was the President consulting? Can he reveal the list of the consulted stakeholders or was he getting instructions from the CR17 donors like Stavros Nicolaou?

BLF calls on Ramaphosa to effect an immediate total shutdown of the country and to engage with Cuba and China – the two countries that know what they are doing in dealing with the coronavirus epidemic.

We further call for serious measures to be put in place to mitigate the economic impact such as:

I. lowering interest rates;
ii. suspension of mortgage bonds and rentals for the duration of the crisis;
iii. granting cash compensation to townships, informal settlements, small towns, rural villages, and small businesses;
iv. preventing companies from profiting from the coronavirus epidemic;
v. decreeing that all medical supplies shall be at cost price; and
vi. declaring a moratorium on retrenchments.

Moreover, BLF calls on Stavros Nicolaou and Aspen to apologize for insulting South Africans with such a thinly veiled plan to profit from our misery and misfortune.

Issued by Black First Land First, National Coordinating Committee of (BLF NCC)

17 March 2020

Contact Details

Black First Land First Mail: [email protected]

Zanele Lwana
(BLF Deputy President)
Cell: +27 79 986 7225

Reposted from the BLF website.

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