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Jessie Duarte says liquidation of Sekunjalo Independent Media makes 'no sense' - report

Nov 15 2019 10:05
Jan Cronje

ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte has slammed an application to liquidate Sekunjalo Independent Media (SIM), which owns a majority of shares in media group Independent Media, publisher of The Star, the Cape Times and other publications. 

According to, Duarte said on Thursday that the liquidation application by state-owned asset manager the Public Investment Corporation makes "no sense'.

“The Independent Media brand has existed for decades and decades, under different ownership. Is it a problem now that it is owned by the indigenous people of South Africa?

"As the ANC, we are applying our minds to what the cause of this really is but I can tell you that this makes no sense,” Duarte said, according to iol. 

The PIC, which invests on behalf of public sector workers, confirmed on Wednesday that it had filed liquidation proceedings in the Western Cape High Court against SIM due to the group's "failure to honour its loan repayment obligations for an outstanding loan advanced by the Government Employees Pension Fund". It did not say what it was owed by the media group. 

SIM spokesperson Takudzwa Hove earlier in the week described the application as one in a series of "co-ordinated attacks on Independent Media, and ultimately, an attack on media freedom".

Sekunjalo Independent Media is a separate entity from Sekunjalo Investment Holdings, the investment holding company of Cape Town businessman Iqbal Survé. SIM does fall under Sekunjalo, however, and Survé is the chair of Independent Media.

According to iol, which is part of Independent Media, Duarte questioned how the PIC could apply to liquidate a company “that is still presenting before a commission of inquiry, before the inquiry is even complete? It makes no sense."

This is a reference to the PIC commission of inquiry, a judicial communion set to by president Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate allegations of corruption and governance failures at the PIC.

Survé appeared before the commission in April. At the time he said that PIC and the Government Employees Pension Fund were treating Independent Media with "complete disdain" by not answering his emails. He also said that Independent Media was the "most objective media house in SA" and its "survival was based on objectivity".

The commission, which has not yet submitted its final report to Ramaphosa, heard that Independent Media was not in a position to service a R850m loan it received from the PIC in 2013. This loan was part of the funding required to buy out Independent Media SA from its former Irish owners.

SIM, according to a 2018 regulatory filing, owns 55% of Independent Media. The media group's minority shareholders are Interacom Investment Holdings (20%) and the PIC (25%). The shareholders of Interacom Investment Holdings Proprietary Limited are the China Africa Development Fund (25%) and China International Television Corporation (75%).

Survé said in April that the media group had been paying interest only to Interacom Investment Holdings "because that was the structure of the transaction".

pic  |  iqbal surve  |  jessie duarte


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