Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Sekunjalo: The PIC is on a drive to embarrass Dr Survé

 

 

Sekunjalo Independent Media (SIM) has described an application by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to liquidate it as a “further attempt to embarrass and undermine the Sekunjalo group and Dr [Iqbal] Survé.”

Sekunjalo Investment Holdings (SIH) confirmed in a statement that Independent Media and Survé have been served with papers, but did not provide further details, and claimed the papers erroneously cited Sekunjalo Independent Media and Survé as respondents.

The PIC had not provided the Mail & Guardian with details of the application at the time of publication.

Sekunjalo Independent Media spokesperson Takudzwa Hove said the PIC’s application is filled with inaccuracies. “Among the many errors in the supporting affidavit, the PIC and its advisers cited the incorrect parties to the relevant legal agreements. This action is not only incompetent and mala fide but malicious on the part of the PIC and its advisers.”

Sekunjalo Independent Media, which is chaired by Survé, is owned by Survé’s Sekunjalo Investment Holdings and publishes, among other newspapers, The Star, Cape Times, Cape Argus, The Mercury, Pretoria News, Diamond Fields Advertiser, Daily News, Daily Voice, Isolezwe, Business Report, Sunday Independent and Sunday Tribune.

The liquidation application follows the PIC’s head of legal services, Lindiwe Dlamini, telling the finance committee in Parliament that the state asset manager would be looking to recoup its funds from the Sekunjalo-led consortium. This is after the company had failed to service a 2013 loan from the PIC to acquire Independent Media from its Irish owners.

In a previous statement, Survé disputed the suggestion that R1.5-billion is owed to the PIC by Sekunjalo Independent Media, saying that the company has never requested a loan from the state asset manager.

“The PIC and its advisers have elected not to disclose in their court papers, SIM’s letter of 30 September 2019, addressed to its attorneys by SIM, wherein it is explained that SIM is not indebted to the PIC for any sum,” Hove said.

“This application is a waste of taxpayers’ money and constitutes irregular spending on the part of the PIC, which should be investigated by the appropriate authorities.”

He said that Sekunjalo Independent Media has instructed its attorneys to oppose the application, which will include seeking a special costs order against the PIC.

The M&G has previously reported that the possible liquidation of the company could sink Sekunjalo Independent Media and threaten the existence of its numerous titles, which have dwindling circulations. Its flagship isiZulu newspaper, Isolezwe ngeSonto, for instance, has seen a 20% drop in circulation from 65 013 in 2018 to 51 992 in 2019.

In October, auditing firm BDO South Africa said it would not renew its mandate with four companies under Sekunjalo Investment Holdings, namely African Equity Empowerment Investors; AYO Technology Solutions; Independent Media; and Premier Fishing and Brands Limited.

BDO’s announcement came shortly after the Financial Services Conduct Authority’s (FSCA’s) raid of the Sekunjalo headquarters in Cape Town, citing “market manipulation”. Survé criticised the raid, placing the blame on Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and calling it a “fishing expedition”. Survé further threatened to sue the FSCA, its acting commissioner and the investigators who participated in the raid.

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Thando Maeko
Thando Maeko is an Adamela Trust business reporter at the Mail & Guardian

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Soweto teacher dismissed for the alleged repeated rape of a...

The learner was 13 when the alleged rapes started, and they continued for two years until she asked to be moved to another school

First-of-its-kind rangeland atlas pushes for protection

Rangelands are ‘nature’s gift to humanity’, but have been overlooked, neglected

More top stories

Court refused murder-acused Kilian’s application for particulars, bail dates are...

Zane Kilian has been denied further information into the charges against him, which include murder, unlawful interception of communications and fraud

Soweto teacher dismissed for the alleged repeated rape of a...

The learner was 13 when the alleged rapes started, and they continued for two years until she asked to be moved to another school

MKMVA accuse top six of being factional in collapsed meeting

A defiant MKMVA has vowed it is business as usual, after a meeting with the top six ended with the military veterans being kicked out of the virtual platform

Gumede graft trial likely to begin only in July next...

The state has added racketeering to the charges faced by the former eThekwini mayor and 21 others, but logistics are likely to delay their trial until mid-2022
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×