Fake News: Iqbal Survé claims that he is the victim of a giant conspiracy by our racist banks who are determined to thwart the progress of black South Africans. He claims that South Africa’s banking system, universally admired in the financial world, is controlled by an unpatriotic and racist White Monopoly Capital cabal which is ‘perpetuating apartheid tactics’ and its goal is to prevent black people from improving their lives. Iqbal Survé, heroically fighting for ‘the soul of South Africa’ intends to change this situation at the Competition Commission and the Equality Court.
In South Africa, Iqbal Survé’s newspapers declared our major banks to be ‘unpatriotic’ members of a ‘white monopoly capital’ cabal colluding with one another to bring about the ‘extinction’ of his companies because they ‘don’t care about jobs and ‘exclude’ black companies which shows that they are ‘racist’ and, for this reason, they must ‘fall’. They are, his strictly-controlled reporters proclaim, ‘perpetuating apartheid tactics’ because they are motivated by a ‘racist’ desire ‘to wipe out voices that are committed to transformation and black economic empowerment and, for this reason, they ‘racially profile’ South Africa’s black citizens.
It is, as he says at 51 seconds of this SABC interview “… all anti-transformation, it’s all designed to stop this country from becoming truly liberated.”
Standard Bank, like Absa, FNB, Nedbank, Mercantile, Sasfin, Investec, Bidvest and Access Bank is seeking to distance itself from Survé because, like them and in the face of never-ending scandal and controversy and sordid reporting and fake news, it fears guilt by association, financial loss and reputational harm.
Survé says that, in referring these banks to the Competition Commission and the Equality Court, he is involved in a ‘fight for the soul of South Africa’.
To suggest, as Survé by implication does, that the ANC is an unpatriotic, racist organisation that is opposed to transformation, does not care about job creation and is part of a white monopoly capital cabal that is racially profiling black people is bizarre but he is known for his bizarre claims.
Somehow I don’t think the members of the Competition Commission and the Equality Court will be persuaded by that argument but are the banks guilty of deliberately sabotaging the aspirations of black South Africans as Survé claims?
On 20 June 2014 he shared a table with then vice president Cyril Ramaphosa, and Iqbal Survé at the annual Nat Nakasa award function organised by SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef), Print and Digital Media SA and the Nieman Foundation to recognise courageous journalism.
Ramaphosa was the keynote speaker at the function.
The judges were Dr Simphiwe Sesanti, a journalism lecturer at Stellenbosch University, Joe Thloloe, a director in the Press Council and former Star editor Peter Sullivan.
When Alide Dasnois was announced as the winner, Iqbal Survé effectively denounced them as racists and stormed out of the function. He has never provided any evidence to sustain his accusation that Sesanti, Thloloe and Sullivan are racists because none exists.
Is Tshabalala a racist who is ‘perpetuating apartheid tactics’ and part of a ‘white monopoly cabal’ because Standard Bank has joined 27 other banks and representative offices of foreign banks in declining to do business with Survé-linked companies?
Are the members of the Mpati Commission – the former President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Justice Lex Mpati, Gill Marcus and Emmanuel Lediga – part of a ‘white monopoly capital cabal’ and ‘racists’ because they called for sweeping forensic investigations of all companies linked to Iqbal Survé?
Is Reuel Khosa, the former interim chair of the Public Invest Corporation a racist opposed to job creation and black empowerment for suggesting that it was logical to liquidate Sekunjalo Independent Media to protect civil servant pensions?
Is the government of Finland racist because it has replaced Iqbal Survé as its Honorary Consul in Cape Town with a Finnish national, Philip Palmgren?
The banks fear potential financial loss which is understandable given Survé’s business record.
Twenty years ago, the bankruptcy of his Leisurenet company impoverished thousands of South African, many of them pensioners.
Independent Media was financially viable when he took control in 2013 with a PIC loan which he is now refusing to repay.
Here’s an extract from Paper Tiger which is telling reflection of Survé’s business acumen:
By 31 December 2016, Sekunjalo Independent Media (SIM) had accumulated losses of R617 million, and liabilities exceeded assets by R393.8 million. By 30 June 2017, accumulated losses had grown to R752 million, and liabilities exceeded assets by R547 million.
AYO shares which the PIC’s Dan Matjila bought for R43 with money from the civil service pension fund are now selling on the JSE for R4.
Government employees will never derive any benefit from Daniel Matjila’s investment of billions of rands of their pension fund money in what they perceive as Iqbal Survé’s scams.
Survé told the Mpati Commission that Sagarmatha would rival Uber but the JSE refused to list it and if you do an internet search for sagarmathatech you learn that the website is ‘under construction.’ That’s all that remains of what was widely perceived to be a scam.
I believe, like the members of parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance, that Iqbal Survé’s claim of being the victim of a conspiracy by a cabal of right wing racists who are determined to thwart the advance of the country’s black citizens, a claim being relentlessly promoted in his newspapers, is fake news.
If his conspiracy claim is true, that would make companies like auditors BDO SA and Sasol and BTSA, which have all cut ties with Iqbal Survé, co-conspirators in the ‘anti-transformation cabal’. No evidence exists that these are racist companies opposed to the advancement of black people just as no evidence exists that our banks are opposed to South Africa becoming ‘truly liberated’ – whatever that means or however that could be defined.
What matters, however, is whether the members of the Competition Commission and the Equality Court agree with Survé. If they do then they need to ask themselves why all the banks refusing to do business with Iqbal Survé-linked companies have, nevertheless, chosen to retain their ties with other media companies such Media 24, Arena Holdings, Mail & Guardian, Caxton, Daily Maverick, GroundUp, amaBhungane, Politicsweb, Vrye Weekblad and Maroela News?
Could the answer be that these companies have an ethical business approach, are not relentlessly tainted by scandal and voluntarily submit to the oversight jurisdiction of the SA Press Council, an approach abandoned by the Guptas and Survé several years ago?
For more insight into the life and times of the ‘Paper Tiger’ they could refer to accounts by former Sekunjalo Independent Media employees, people like Ann Crotty and Alide Dasnois and Chris Whitfield – see here and here and here and here – and Dougie Oakes and Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya