Two days after the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) actioned a search at the premises of Sekunjalo, an investment company owned by Iqbal Survé, the Office of the Chief Justice has confirmed that nothing was untoward about how the warrant was obtained — or who was behind it.
Iqbal Survé raid: What's the latest?
The Western Cape High Court had, on Tuesday, granted FSCA their application for a warrant to search Cape Town offices owned by Iqbal Survé, a well-renowned media boss.
According to the financial services watchdog, the search was related to an active investigation into market manipulation that Iqbal Survé may be involved in.
However, the media boss saw things differently. After refusing to allow FSCA agents to confiscate the office's laptops, he claimed the raid was led by fears that Iqbal Survé was about to dish out the dirt on President Cyril Ramaphosa and Pravin Gordhan.
“This is purely a fishing expedition on your part to get information that we have on Pravin Gordhan, on the president and on various ministers and various others. And you are trying to get that information because my reporters are about to publish it this weekend. And that is all that this is about. This is a fishing expedition trying to prevent that information from being published," he'd said
In fact, Iqbal Survé went as far as suggesting that the raid was orchestrated by the Public Enterprises Minister.
“It's Pravin Gordhan behind this… it's an abuse of regulatory authorities… I'm aware that you went to the first judge, the judge said no to you… You went to a second judge who's a friend of the DA and of Pravin Gordhan," Iqbal Survé had exclaimed moments after the raid.
However, Gordhan, through his attorneys, has rubbished these claims as "malicious, and nonsensical utterances".
"Judge Gamble has no ties with Gordhan" – Office of the Chief Justice
The Office of the Chief Justice also issued a statement, categorically denying that the judge that presided over the matter, P.A.L Gamble, was in cahoots with Gordhan.
In it, spokesperson of the judiciary, Nathi Mncube, explained that the FSCA application for a search warrant was processed legally and that Judge Gamble "accordingly granted amended warrants reflecting the names of two independent attorneys who were then available".
"Judge Gamble does not know Minister Pravin Gordhan and has never met him in either his official or personal capacity. Neither the Minister nor his department were, in any event, parties to the proceedings," the statement read.
While there have been no formal defamatory charges laid against Iqbal Survé, Gordhan's attorney, Tebogo Malatjie, challenged the media boss to "produce proof of allegations he has made about the two judges”.