Media magnate ‘lobbied Gigaba’
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.”