Me­dia mag­nate ‘lob­bied Gi­gaba’

Sunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By SABELO SKITI and ASHA SPECKMAN

In­de­pen­dent Me­dia owner Iqbal Survé has been re­vealed as the source of a text mes­sage sent to Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba, im­plor­ing him to in­ter­vene in the per­ceived at­tack on Pub­lic In­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion boss Dan Matjila.

A source said Survé was a share­holder in a com­pany seek­ing fund­ing from the PIC to buy Chevron’s South African as­sets, and was con­cerned the at­tack on Matjila could scup­per the deal.

Survé’s takeover of the news­pa­per group was cour­tesy of PIC fund­ing.

An irate Gi­gaba men­tioned the SMS at a press con­fer­ence this week but did not say who had sent it. “The first time I heard of a board meet­ing, which was to be on Septem­ber 15, [was] from some­body ask-

ing me to in­ter­vene and stop that meet­ing,” he told re­porters.

“It is my view that all of us in our work as govern­ment, and those who work in sta­te­owned com­pa­nies, will from time to time come un­der un­due pres­sure from all sorts of peo­ple in pur­suit of var­i­ous agen­das. It is our re­spon­si­bil­ity to take steps to en­sure that . . . we ob­serve good cor­po­rate gov­er­nance.”

He “took a dim view” and “was ex­tremely up­set at that type of com­mu­ni­ca­tion”.

Gi­gaba has re­fused to dis­cuss the iden­tity of the per­son who sent the text, but the Sunday Times has es­tab­lished that he re­vealed it was Survé at a meet­ing with the PIC’s board and man­age­ment. “He said he didn’t know why he was get­ting SMSes from peo­ple from unions and news­pa­per own­ers based in Cape Town, and he was very up­set about that,” a source who was at the meet­ing said.

A govern­ment source fa­mil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion said African Leg­end In­vest­ment, in which Survé is a share­holder, is one of the com­pa­nies in­volved in ne­go­ti­a­tions with the PIC for it to fund an am­bi­tious buy of Chevron’s South African as­sets.

Survé did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment. How­ever, In­de­pen­dent Me­dia com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Lyn­nette Johns said yes­ter­day that Survé was not in­volved in the mat­ter. “You should in­stead ap­proach Chevron, the PIC, Glen­core and African Leg­end In­vest­ments,” she said.

Deon Botha, head of cor­po­rate af­fairs at the PIC, said: “The PIC has been ap­proached with a pro­posal to in­vest in Chevron but no in­vest­ment de­ci­sion has been made.”

Iqbal Survé

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