magda wierzycka

Who is Magda Wierzycka? – EFF blasts alleged CR17 funder

Published by Andile Sicetsha

Magda Wierzycka, one of South Africa’s richest woman, has been drawn into a vaccine procurement scandal by the EFF and suddenly, a cloud of doubt hangs over her name.

Who is Magda Wierzycka?

Before the EFF published its statement, the safe assumption would be many South Africans did not know much about the CEO of Sygnia.

Nothing seems untoward about Wierzycka, at first glance. She heads one of the leading financial service companies in Africa, she is one of — if not — the richest women in South Africa and has championed anti-corruption throughout her career.

typing laptop wallet table

Wierzycka is a Polish national who, according to Entrepreneur, started her road to wealth like many South Africans, at rock bottom.
It’s said that she arrived with her family in 1983 with only R500 to their name.

“From the moment I turned 18, I’ve had to support myself. I’ve also had an interesting career, working at different places and filling different roles, and I’ve travelled widely. I think it’s this background that’s given me the ability to come up with innovative ideas,” she writes in the 2017 piece.

Today, Wierzycka is one of South Africa’s few dollar-billionaires and according to the EFF, her eyes are deadset on the business of Covid-19 vaccine procurement.

Did Sygnia help SA procure Covid-19 vaccines?

In its statement, the EFF charged at President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Health Ministry for buttering up to ‘white monopoly capitalists’ like Wierzycka for a score of the profits vaccination promises.

The Julius Malema-led party accused Sygnia of playing an intermediary role in South Africa’s negotiations with a number of vaccine suppliers.

“Magda is therefore at the centre of the Covid-19 vaccine procurement which has already proven useless as it will fail to stop the immediate spread of Covid-19. She is one of many instances of accumulation by dispossession used to line the pockets of greedy capitalists through their prepaid puppet president Ramaphosa,” the EFF scathingly wrote.

In a presentation made by the health department in Parliament, it was revealed that Wierzycka was in talks with the Serum Institute of India (SII) to fund the development of an upgraded AstraZeneca vaccine that can provide a higher efficacy response to the Covid-19 variant spreading in South Africa.

Nowhere in the presentation was it stated that this was, indeed, finalised and in progress. In fact, based on recent recommendations made by the World Health Organisation (WHO), it is likely that the 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be used in South Africa after all.

Still, the thought of a private sector executive meddling in State business has irritated the EFF.

“These companies that are being contracted to procure and deliver Covid-19 vaccines do not have the interest of South Africans and their lives at heart. Instead, their priority, and only priority, is profit at all cost,” the Red Berets warned.

is there a link between Wierzycka and Ramaphosa?

Most shocking, perhaps, were claims made by the EFF that Wierzycka is a close confidant of Ramaphosa. Without providing any soluble evidence, the Red Berets named the Sygnia CEO as one of Ramaphosa’s political campaign funders, further spreading the narrative that the president was carefully selected to represent the interests of white capitalists.

This claim, Wierzycka has vehemently denied since its inception in 2019. Perhaps, the most memorable moment of her denial was during her Twitter war with the DA’s Natasha Mazzone.

Back then Mazzone had accused Wierzycka of funding Ramaphosa after the Sygnia CEO had exposed the DA leader of approaching her for a donation.

“She approached me for a donation to DA prior to the elections. Cancelled when I said Sygnia doesn’t donate to political parties,” she wrote.

When Mazzone returned with more bite, insisting that her money is in the pockets of the president. But, Wierzycka would not budge. The billionaire simply scoffed at Mazzone, instructing her to “check her facts.”

Till this day, no actual proof exists of a link between Ramaphosa and the Sygnia CEO.