Dr Iqbal Surve, chairman of Independent Newspapers. Independent Newspapers has made a bid for Sapa. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu.

Johannesburg - Business competitors, including those in the media, must work together to build South Africa and the continent instead of trying to destroy each other, Sekunjalo Group chairman Dr Iqbal Survé said on Thursday.

“You know, when I led the consortium to buy Independent Media... the four media houses that control media in this country were untransformed - there was no change since democracy in 1994,” he said at an SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry conference in Midrand.

“Then came this young - well not young anymore - medical doctor, an upstart, to buy one of the big media houses.

“The ruthlessness in which the competition came for me, with no foundation whatsoever, shows that they didn't understand the essence of what it takes to build a new South African society and to build a new business future for our country.”

Survé said exclusivity was also something that needed to be worked on.

“I was in a meeting last night... where it was discussed - a new (news) syndication for Africa,” he said.

“I went into the meeting and said this is my view, this is my vision, let's be completely transparent and open. And all the other media houses there said: 'Oh my God, this guy is really naive, he is telling us everything'.”

Survé said there was no use in having secrets.

“If you that believe the future of our country and business is in working together with small business, big business, medium business, government and the private sector, and you genuinely believe that, you must be transparent and walk the talk,” he said.

“As South Africans we like to complain, we like to gossip and like to do all these things because they keep us busy at the braai. But at the end of the day we must be very careful we don't throw the baby out with the bath water.” - Sapa