Tuesday, December 6, 2022

OPINION | Iqbal Survé: Adriaan Basson got it wrong on the PIC’s investments | News24

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Independent Media boss Iqbal Survé at the Mpati Commission hearings into the Public Investment Corporation's dealings.

Independent Media boss Iqbal Survé at the Mpati Commission hearings into the Public Investment Corporation’s dealings.

Gallo Images/Phill Magakoe

On 17 October, News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson mentioned businessman Iqbal Survé in a column titled “Democracy dies when institutions don’t stand up to rogue leaders”. This is Survé’s right to reply.

Your article in respect of Independent Media and Dr Iqbal Survé is filled with errors and is essentially libellous. Your hypocrisy knows no bounds Mr Basson, as you have ignored the facts and not applied the basic rules of journalism – again.

Below are the correct facts you should have reported on instead of ignoring the tenets of journalism in favour of your agenda to subvert the truth to suit your goal of destroying Independent Media.

The Public Investment Corporation made an indicative, non-binding commitment to invest R2.4 billion.

However, the PIC only invested R888 million in total, and not R2.4 billion as you repeatedly get wrong. They did so as follows:

  • R253 million – Term loan to SIM Consortium (NOT Sekunjalo or Dr Iqbal Survé)
  • R167 million – 25% equity in Independent Media (for the PIC’s own account)
  • R183 million – to acquire pre-existing shareholder loan (for the PIC’s own account)
  • R285 million – Preference shares – capital restructure (for the PIC’s own account).

All these funds went to the seller, Independent Media Ireland PLC.

Your article grossly misrepresents the truth once again. The purchase price of Independent Media was determined by independent valuators CitiBank, an internationally recognised and highly credible institution.

How am I linked to the ANC – other than being a former struggle activist – any more than you, Koos Bekker and News24 are linked to the ANC, the DA, or any other political party?

How have I enriched myself or my family from this investment when it is only Sekunjalo that has ploughed any money back into the company to keep it operational over the years? If anything, Independent Media costs us money.

Any decrease in shareholder value or reduction in our integrity is purely because of the war of words and a continuous stream of factually incorrect articles (such as this one) that you and your cohort have waged against Independent Media since 2013.

We must remind you, it would seem, that Sekunjalo is over two decades old, was one of the first BEE companies to list on the JSE, and that was way back in 1999 and has performed exceptionally well, providing stakeholder value each year.

Sekunjalo is invested in nearly 200 companies and has had a sterling reputation for upliftment, transformation, and business growth all those years – right until it bought into Independent Media and the campaign to discredit us began, which you are very much a part of.

As someone who ostensibly purports to be a journalist of skill, is it not time you own up to your mistakes and start reporting the truth for a change?

– Iqbal Survé is chairperson of the Sekunjalo Investments

  • Survé does not distinguish between the amounts originally invested by the PIC, and the value of these loans plus interest today. During a briefing to Parliament in 2021, the PIC revealed that Survé owes them R710 million (the “term loan”) and a further R393 million, a loan to Independent Media. That totals R1.1 billion. In a separate transaction, the PIC also invested R4.3 billion in Survé’s Ayo Technology Solutions. – Editor

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