Home News Diamond mogul Louis Liebenberg enters political fray

Diamond mogul Louis Liebenberg enters political fray

Diamond dealer Louis Liebenberg will contest the May 29 elections as an independent candidate. Picture: Supplied

By Siyabonga Sithole

MILLIONAIRE diamond dealer Louis Liebenberg has his sights set on conquering Parliament. He is set to contest the May 29 elections as an independent candidate.

In a statement this week, Liebenberg’s spokesperson, Dirk Lotriet, indicated that the Jacob Zuma benefactor would be contesting the elections in four provinces.

“Liebenberg’s name will appear on the regional ballot papers of Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Free State. The four provinces together represent 93 regional seats in the National Assembly. Liebenberg, 59, is a former hobo, who pulled himself up by his shoestrings to become a billionaire within a few years and now hopes to be able to do the same for South Africa through his involvement in politics,” said Lotriet.

He said the controversial businessman was excited about his impending role as a politician.

“He is a staunch supporter of economic reform and is campaigning for the mineral wealth of the country to be placed in the hands of ordinary people.”

Last year, Liebeberg was hailed by communities in the Northern Cape for his approach to artisanal mining. The Northern Cape Artisanal Miners Organisation indicated that through companies such as Liebeberg’s Tariomix, trading as Forcer Diamond and Gold, more people were getting an opportunity to earn a living.

“The big mining companies don’t want us to earn a living, but through companies such as Tariomix, we are able to earn a decent living. We are able to put food on the table,” a miner, who did not want to be named, said.

Lotriet said this year’s elections were historic in that, for the first time, independent candidates were able to contest the polls.

“This year’s elections are historic – they not only celebrate thirty years of democracy, but are also the first set of elections where independent candidates will be able to stand. A third ballot – the so-called regional ballot – will also be used for the first time in addition to the traditional national and provincial ballots. Independent candidates’ names were added to this regional ballot,” he said.

According to the IEC, in total, 42 candidates are appearing on more than one party list implicating 39 parties. Furthermore, one candidate was nominated as an independent candidate and also appeared on a list of a party.

The final list of candidates contesting the elections will be published by the Commission on Wednesday.

Apart from Liebenberg, HIV activist and co-founder of the Treatment Action Campaign, Zackie Achmat, is one of only five other independent candidates on the IEC list.

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