I stand by my editors, says Dr Iqbal Surve

Dr Iqbal Surve. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)

Dr Iqbal Surve. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 13, 2022


On Thursday, News24 published an article claiming Independent Media’s editors and political staff had a meeting to discuss 'Operation Hlanza', an apparent media strategy on how the group will cover the elections.

The publication claimed that there was a “secret” document from the Independent Media group to “topple President Cyril Ramaphosa”.

Independent Media and Sekunjalo owner Dr Iqbal Surve has slammed the article saying that the alleged “secret” document is nothing more than a detailed election coverage plan for the upcoming ANC elective conference.

“After reading this ridiculous article I contacted the Editor-in-Chief of Independent Media, Aziz Hartley, and he informed me that indeed there is such a document. Firstly, this document is not secretive.

“Secondly, the proposed editorial plan was distributed to all editors – across the Group.

“Thirdly, nowhere does it state, infer or otherwise, that Independent Media plans to ‘topple’ the President,” Surve said.

Surve laid bare the content of the document: “The document deals with the upcoming ANC elective conference. Just as every other media house in this country should also have a plan as to how they are going to cover this seminal event, given the importance of the future for all of us, that is riding on the outcome.”

After reading the document, formulated by the editor of The Star Newspaper, Sifiso Mahlangu who is leading the editorial team for the conference, Surve says the document is clearly an election coverage plan.

He says while in its introduction it references Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidency over the last five years as a disaster, Dr Surve doesn’t think anyone who has lived through this period, can argue with that comment.

“As Independent Media, we do not, however, have a view about any ANC candidate in the forthcoming election. What we do know, is that the last five years have been a complete catastrophe for South Africa and the media.

“Independent Media and its parent company, Sekunjalo Investment Holdings, have been singled out and are the victims of a targeted and orchestrated attack,” Surve said.

Dr Surve believes the News24 article has been designed to prevent Independent Media from exposing to the country’s electorate and the investment community, the depth of corruption, looting and outright criminal activity that pervades just about every single Government department.

Independent media has exposed “secrets” like the Phala Phala saga as well as the “CR17 funding”, and the company is really surprised by the latest propaganda attack.

“It was the Independent Media group that exposed the Guptas, our group that exposed the “secret” CR17 bank statements showing hitherto undeclared funders and how those funds were disbursed.

“It was also Independent Media who exposed the PPE corruption scandal in the office of the Presidency. To date, our Group has exposed more than R500bn of corruption – all during the Cyril Ramaphosa administration”, Surve said.

“Our country’s coffers are being bled dry. The brain drain is real, and with it, this country’s reputation as an investment destination has been annihilated. Our country’s reputation is in tatters – at home and abroad.

“The incumbents, from the President down, cannot afford to have their dirty laundry hung out for all to see, so have embarked on a terror campaign against those who would tell the truth and have the citizens able to make well-informed decisions.

“This terror campaign, predominantly against Independent Media and Sekunjalo and its Group companies, has used state resources, regulatory bodies, and capital (largely the country’s banks), to destroy our businesses. All to prevent the rot from reaching the light of day.“

The editor of The Star Newspaper’s opening remarks in this “leaked” election coverage plan, are apt, Surve said.

“In the past five years Ramaphosa and his cabal have attempted every trick in the book to shut down Sekunjalo Holdings, the target was and remains Independent Media.”

We stand by that, Surve proclaimed.

“It is absurd that News24, borne out of apartheid’s Naspers, and which was the propaganda arm of the then ruling party, the National Party, is now putting itself forward as a credible news media platform. A leopard doesn’t change its spots...”

Hypocrisy of the highest order

Surve noted that Naspers was still controlled by the very same people that controlled it during apartheid. He said Media24, is in fact, a Cyril Ramaphosa propaganda machine.  And, it is there to protect his interests and those of the Afrikaner capital – those same people who existed during apartheid.

In a similar vein, there have been recent reports that select media outlets – amaBhungane, Daily Maverick, Media24 etc - are being funded by these same backers who, co-incidentally, include many of the country’s banks. All appear determined to shut down Independent Media.

“These media outlets are praise singers for the corruption, incompetence, and complete mismanagement of the economy to the detriment of ordinary South Africans that is the hallmark of Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration.

“What began as a dream of hope, has become a nightmare of ineptitude and destruction.

“As Independent Media’s non-executive Chairman, I stand firmly behind our executive, Editor-in-Chief, and editors. The board backs them, and we will together, ensure that the world knows that this attack on us by the CR chorus brigade, is attack on media freedom and integrity.

“We look forward to change in December and in 2024, so that SA can begin its long road to salvation and recovery,” Surve concluded.

Independent Media