In a David-vs-Goliath battle, Sekunjalo Group Chairman Dr Iqbal Survé has vowed to continue the fight against some of the country’s biggest banking institutions to protect his staff, their families and black South Africans at large.
Speaking to Sakina Kamwendo on SABC MorningLive on Friday, Dr Survé said Sekunjalo has approached the Competition Tribunal to prove that the banks acted in sequence in their decision to cut ties with the group.
He was responding to an earlier interview between the SABC and AmaBhungane journalist and investigator Dewald van Rensburg.
He said papers were filed against the banks on a range of matters including the grounds of racial discrimination and violating Sekunjalo’s constitutional rights.
He added that all the banks had followed the same patterns and processes, which he said stemmed from the negative media reports about him, Sekunjalo and the Independent Media group.
In papers filed with the Equality Court in the Western Cape, he said there was evidence of collusion between the country’s major banks in severing ties with the Sekunjalo and related entities.
Dr Survé said there was no doubt that the decision by the banks was politically motivated as the banks were part of the Establishment.
“The group is about 85 companies of scale, 1 500 employees, revenues of about R8.5 billion per year and about 40 000 dependants. Over the last while, quite a lot of our detractors have written negative things about us, most of which are untrue, with some of them sending letters of demand. They’ve used this negative news as a basis to say it’s a reputational risk now, of course, that’s crazy,” he said.
Dr Survé said he believed the media propaganda was being used to discredit the investigative work done at Independent Media. He said there had never been action taken against white-owned companies in the way that action had been taken against Sekunjalo – which is largely a black-owned company.
Dr Survé pointed out that there were about 20 companies, including Steinhoff, Tongaat Hulett and EOH, that had been found to have engaged in accounting fraud and some in money laundering, yet their bank accounts and those of their directors remained open.
“I’m confident that the Equality Court will find in our favour. Our case is very strong. We’ve demonstrated racial discrimination by these banks. We’ve demonstrated how the banks have colluded. There is an attempt to shut a black firm. We’ve grown too big and too independent as a black company and this is not what the Establishment wants in this country,” he said.