PIC lodges application to liquidate Sekunjalo Independent Media_1

According to numerous reports, a statement released on Tuesday, 12 November 2019, revealed that the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) had lodged an application to liquidate Sekunjalo Independent Media (SIM), the company that purchased Independent Media in 2013, primarily through a controversial PIC loan paid to Sekunjalo.

SIM said it received an application for its liquidation from the PIC. The application cited SIM and executive chairperson, Iqbal Survé as respondents.

On its own website, IOL, SIM spokesperson, Takudzwa Hove was quoted claiming there were “many errors” in the supporting affidavit and that the PIC and its advisers had allegedly cited the incorrect parties to the relevant legal agreements.

Hove called the PIC’s actions “malicious” and alleged it was a “further attempt to embarrass and undermine the Sekunjalo Group, and Dr Survé personally, and is aimed at provoking a run on SIM’s major subsidiary, Independent Media, which is fully operational.”

Coordinated attacks on Independent Media 

Hove called it a part of a series of coordinated attacks on Independent Media, and ultimately, an attack on media freedom. He further claimed that the PIC and its advisers had purposely not disclosed in their court papers how SIM had attempted through a letter, to “lay out” why they didn’t believe they owed the PIC any money.

Last month, after PIC acting head of legal services, Lindiwe Dlamini told parliament that the PIC was considering applying to liquidate Sekunjalo, Survé called her testimony false.

Survé said at the time that “Dlamini is well aware of the fact that the special purpose vehicle, Sekunjalo Independent Media, that was created for the purpose of securing Independent Media, is an entirely different juristic entity (to Sekunjalo).”

Oppose the PIC’s frivolous application 

SIM said on Tuesday it had told its attorneys to oppose the PIC’s “frivolous” application and seek relief, including a special costs order against the PIC and those currently in charge of it.

Independent Media publishes numerous titles in South Africa, including The Mercury, The Star, the Cape Times and Isolezwe.

Last month, Survé’s offices in Cape Town were raided by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA). The FSCA was reportedly probing a case involving Survé’s company Sekunjalo Holdings allegedly engaging in irregular share trading against another of his companies, Ayo Technology Solutions.