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Rob Hersov calls on South Africans to fix country’s broken wings



South African billionaire Rob Hersov may have no faith in the African National Congress (ANC) government, but he still has hope for South Africa’s future. That’s why this week, he said he would offer the department of public enterprises R2 billion to buy six state-owned regional airports.

The proposal is based on the vision he’s putting into play at the Cape Winelands Airport that his company already owns. Hersov and business partner Nick Ferguson plan to turn this former South African Airforce airfield into “aero hub” for air, road, rail, cargo, and port networks.

Speaking to the SA Jewish Report before hopping on a plane himself, Hersov said the Cape Winelands Airport was “one of the biggest development projects in the Western Cape” since it began two years ago. At the moment, it’s being used only by light aircraft, but he wants to turn it into a regional and logistics hub. And he hopes to do the same for airports in George, Gqeberha, East London, Bloemfontein, Kimberley, and Upington.

Hersov emphasises that they aren’t bidding for Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), which owns and operates South Africa’s nine principal airports, including international gateways OR Tambo, Cape Town, and King Shaka International airports.

This is after Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula commented on 9 September that his department had been approached by prospective investors about acquiring equity in ACSA, which he called a “strategic national asset” that wasn’t for sale.

Hersov said that though the message was misconstrued, “If these are strategic assets, then the government should sell them as quickly as possible. The safest place for them is in the hands of private operators like us. These airports aren’t being given any money or love. They are going to fall apart. They deserve investment and maintenance.”

He said the Cape Winelands Airport is the preferred base for aviation training in the Cape Town region. Of the four original runways, two remain operational while the other two are used for film production.

Located on a 150ha site, Cape Winelands Airport manages numerous aircraft hangars for the storage and maintenance of private aircraft and helicopters, with room for further development and ancillary services. His team includes Monhla Hlahla, the former managing director of ACSA; Fabian Msimang, the former chief of the South African Air Force; and Deon Cloete, the former general manager of Cape Town International and King Shaka International Airport.

Hersov grew up in Johannesburg and is now based in Cape Town. He lived abroad for three decades before coming back six years ago. He said he returned because he and his family loved the lifestyle, and he wanted to play a role in ensuring a stable South Africa. He encourages young people to go overseas to gain expertise and experience, and then return to “help fix South Africa”. He doesn’t see himself going into politics, but wants to “fight” for the country’s future.

He’s the chairperson and founder of Invest Africa, African Capital Investments, and Alternative Capital, he serves as non-executive director of both Emerge Gaming (Australian Securities Exchange-listed) and the Cape Town Stock Exchange, and he’s senior advisor to the founder of VistaJet. He has been a member of many public and private boards, and founded and owns companies in the aviation, resource, media/marketing, member network, and finance sectors.

Hersov’s WhatsApp profile picture is of the character Morpheus offering Neo the “blue pill” or “red pill” in the film The Matrix, and indeed, he presents South Africa’s future as an either/or picture. “The scenario is that the government doesn’t know how to run state-owned enterprises – it only knows how to break and steal them,” he said in his blunt style.

Hersov is known for calling out business leaders for not standing up to ANC incompetence. Speaking to the SA Jewish Report, he said if the ANC stayed in power after the 2024 national elections, “the country is over. But if we can form a ‘coalition of the good’, then we have a long road ahead in fixing this country. But the investment needs to be made now.”

In a speech at the fourth BizNews Conference in September this year, he said, “Cyril Ramaphosa is a disgrace. He’s a disappointment. He’s an absolute embarrassment to this country, and he should resign immediately.”

There’s “a lot of evil” at the top, and “useless people” running the country, he said. He’s put together a hypothetical “cabinet of experts” who “know what they’re doing, have the good of the country at heart, and who can run this country so much better”.

He may have stated that “South Africa isn’t investable” in the past, but “my view has changed slightly. If you invest, we boot the ANC out in 2024, and a coalition of the good comes in, you’ll make a fortune,” he said in his speech.

He thanked whistleblowers who put “their lives, careers, and families on the line, and received nothing in return”.

“You have one chance to be on the right side of history,” Hersov emphasised. “I f**king love this country – I can’t think of a better way of saying it – and I’m not going to give up, I’m not going to hold back. Enough is enough. We’re a failed economy teetering on the edge of a mafia state. We need urgent action.”

He called on “ANC citizens, who consider themselves South African citizens ahead of ANC loyalists” to resign their membership of the ANC publicly. “I call on the Democratic Alliance, ActionSA, Freedom Front +, Patriotic Alliance, Congress of the People, and African Christian Democratic Party to put aside their differences and egos and form a rainbow coalition so that voters know they can unite against evil and fix our country,” Hersov said.

“I call on all South African athletes, celebrities, and stars to take a stand and demand a vote for change and a vote for this coalition. I call on all business people who consider this country worth saving to stand up and denounce the ANC, and support this coalition. I call on South Africans abroad to dig deep and financially support this coalition. I call on Cyril Ramaphosa to resign. I call on the cabinet to resign. I call on all good, decent people in this country to register and vote the ANC out in 2024.”

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  1. Chris Delport

    Oct 27, 2022 at 1:09 am

    Regarding up-comming election: The voters are afraid that if they dont vote for the ANC they will not receive their Grants anymore.Is there a chance that this mis-perseption be rectified and that the Government pays the Grant and not a specific political party and that after the election the Grants will still be paid as usual.

  2. Cameron Schwartz

    Aug 3, 2023 at 7:13 pm

    Man …I like your style…you are a recci..

  3. Venus

    Aug 12, 2023 at 1:29 pm

    I need your email address please.

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