I have noted with dismay, the interviews and comments made by the CEO of Sygnia Limited, Magda Wierzycka, during various interviews she has given on platforms such as Radio 702 / Cape Talk, Classic FM, and the statements attributed to her in Business Day and BDLive that were published 12 December 2018. In these interviews, she has made several remarks and statements aimed at me personally. For the record, Mr Khalid Abdulla and AEEI responsibly reported this matter to the authorities, and the fact that he is related to me via marriage, is of no consequence to the matter under discussion.
In his affidavit, Mr Abdulla alleges that Magda Wierzycka tried to unduly benefit from buying the Sygnia shares that AEEI owns at a well below market price, this in exchange for not writing negative articles about Sekunjalo Group companies and thereby negatively influencing the media and market. For the sake of clarity, in addition to the illegal nature of the proposition, the undue benefit to Ms Wierzycka, based on the above scenario, would have been many millions of Rands of self-enrichment.
All relevant evidence with regard to this extortion attempt has been handed over to the police. AEEI has done it’s duty by reporting the matter and charging Ms Wierzycka, as is required by law in cases of attempted extortion. Extortion – attempted or actioned – is serious and no matter how Ms Wierzycka tries to explain this away, she will have to answer to the authorities.
I would point out that Ms Wierzycka, as she has done on numerous other occasions, lies blatantly in these interviews. Firstly, she has repeatedly made the claim that she has sued me for defamation. This is untrue. I have never received a summons from Ms Wierzycka and for the record I have only met her once. I have absolutely no relationship with her and have no intention of having a relationship with her and can only assume she is trying to seek publicity at my expense or to influence the case.
For the record, Ms Wierzycka has issued a summons to Independent Media for articles that were printed by columnists writing for Independent Media. As is normal for media houses across the world, not everything that is written is welcomed by the people about whom the articles are written, and we therefore receive a number of summons documents during the course of business. We treat each of them on their own merits. In the case of Ms Wierzycka, the attorneys of Independent Media and the editors that she is looking to sue, have been informed to oppose this action. Independent Media and its editors are confident that Ms Wierzycka’s case is frivolous fictitious and entirely without merit.
Ms Wierzycka along with the detractors of Independent Media such as Business Day, owned by Tiso Blackstar, are once again trying to mislead the public, by suggesting that the extortion charge against her is about AYO Technology Solutions.
For the record, I am not a board member, executive or significant direct shareholder in AYO and in fact have very little to do with the company. Sekunjalo has invested in AEEI which is a shareholder in AYO. Ms Wierzycka makes statements about AYO which are highly defamatory and creates the impression that something was done fraudulently at AYO. The reality is that the AYO listing was oversubscribed by more than R1 Billion with a total of R5.3 Billion in commitments. Information was comprehensively provided in the pre-listing statement and in the business plan of this company. The chairman of AYO, Advocate Wallace Mqoqi yesterday put out a statement condemning the factually incorrect and sensational media reports about AYO. This statement is attached or included in the link.
Read Advocate Wallace Mqoqi's statement here.
If one looks closely at the timeline, Ms Wierzycka’s tirade against the Sekunjalo Group started when the JSE declined to list her crypto currency business on the JSE last year. She apparently lost her professional bearing during the JSE AGM, angry that the JSE approved the listing of many other companies including AYO and African Rainbow Capital, but not hers.
My advice to Ms Wierzycka is this: please stop trying to seek attention at the expense of others, especially BEE-listed or managed entities - this gives credence to the many people that allege you are a subliminal racist for your statement that black people should be employed as gardeners and domestics.
You pleaded with us to invest in your company and the subsequent rights offer, which we did and have to date invested almost R50m in Sygnia. Subsequently, you have lost hundreds of millions for shareholders that have invested in your company, as the share price has dropped from R22 to R9 today, although this is still more than the R7.50 you offered AEEI in your attempt at a buy-back plan. Yet, you continue to draw a huge salary from this company. You owe it to us at Sekunjalo and AEEI, and your other stakeholders, to focus on your own work and the performance of your own company rather than meddling in the affairs of others.
I have nothing more to comment about this matter other than to wish Ms Wierzycka well in her deliberations with the authorities. I do however, request that my name is not used in relation to this legal matter as it is an AEEI-related case, or that any AYO related questions are addressed to AYO and not me.
Dr Iqbal Survé
Chairman, Sekunjalo Investment Holdings