Officials from the Financial Sector Conduct Authority raided Dr Iqbal Survé’s offices in Cape Town on Wednesday morning, in what the businessman described as a 'fishing expedition' and 'an intimidation tactic'. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)
Officials from the Financial Sector Conduct Authority raided Dr Iqbal Survé’s offices in Cape Town on Wednesday morning, in what the businessman described as a 'fishing expedition' and 'an intimidation tactic'. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN – It was a scene out of a movie, a team of forensic investigators pouncing on their unsuspecting target, searching and seizing documents, laptops and hard drives.

Except this was not a movie and the basis and methods used by enforcement agencies were highly questionable and widely condemned.

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) Hollywood-styled raid at Sekunjalo Investment Holdings and African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI) has been highly publicised.

We look deeper into the raid to analyse the motives and agendas that drove law enforcement agencies to take such drastic action.

Most importantly we examine the context of the events leading up to the raid which unpacks issues of civil liberty, legal privilege and abuse of state power.

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According to analyst Professor Sipho Seepe, the use of such drastic force by the FSCA is not something that should be encouraged.

“In this case, it would have been far easier to simply request information that was required from Sekunjalo. This type of action should not be encouraged,” said Seepe.

He said constitutional rights could have been violated if the raid was not conducted within the ambits of the law.

The FSCA  agreed that one of the options available to them was to request information but they chose to opt for a search and seizure operation.

“We have many tools available to us to get the information we require, this includes requesting information or obtaining permission for a search and seizure operation,” says FSCA spokesperson Thembisa Marele.

She did not elaborate on why the FSCA chose to raid rather than request information.

The raid has been widely condemned by workers unions, political movements and activists that have labelled the move an abuse of government institutions to settle political scores. 

References have also been made to other raids conducted by the FSCA - 8 in total this year - of which none were publicized.

Several eyewitnesses during the Sekunjalo raid say investigators swooped on their offices followed by journalists and camera crew that had allegedly been tipped off - lending credence to a media orchestrated agenda against Sekunjalo. 

This is not the first raid or investigation into a media organisation by the regulatory body. In 2014 the FSCA investigated Tiso Blackstar chief Andrew Bonamour but nothing had come out of their investigation. Tiso Blackstar is the publisher of the Sunday Times, Business Day and Timeslive.

The FSCA denied that they alerted journalists to the raid.

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