Further leaked recordings have revealed how Ayo Technology Solutions, the IT company in which businessman Iqbal Survé holds an indirect stake, approved “questionable” deals totalling R400-million, according to the Sunday Times.
This comes after the Sunday Times initially reported that Survé was using a R4.3-billion Public Investment Corporation (PIC) investment in Ayo as “his own personal piggy bank”.
The PIC manages R2-trillion in assets on behalf of government pensioners.
The Ayo board — which allegedly approved the purchase of 60% of IT firm Sizwe Africa and 32% of financial services firm Vunani Ltd — was put together 24 hours before both deals went through. Ayo was reportedly able to secure the Sizwe Africa purchase through the assistance of ANC chaplain-general Reverend Vukile Mehana, who has a 10% stake in the company.
Besides chairing the Sizwe Africa Group board, Mehana is also chair of the board of African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI) — formerly Sekunjalo Investment Holdings — which has a 49% stake in Ayo, presenting a potentially serious conflict of interest. Survé’s Sekunjalo is a majority shareholder in AEEI. The IT firm said while Mehana is a shareholder and chairs its board, he was not involved in negotiations to sell a stake to Ayo. “Sizwe is not aware of any conflict of interest,” Sizwe Africa told the Sunday Times.
In conversation with Mail & Guardian editor Khadija Patel last week, Survé insisted that everyone who is critical of him has been unfair.
“There are powerful interests that don’t tell the story as it is in general — and not just in media — in multiple ways, and maybe I’m an underdog person, and that may be part of the challenge that I face today is that, ‘as successful as I am’, I am not part of the establishment,” he said.
Listen to the M&G’s interview with Survé below: