Durban - The Congress of South African Students (COSAS) has slammed the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) for its October 9, 2019 raids of Sekunjalo offices in Cape Town, saying the move smacks of hypocrisy.
In a statement issued over the weekend, the student organisation said there are some companies that have been accused of squandering billions of public money but they are yet to be raided by the financial sector watchdog.
"As COSAS Eastern Cape we have learnt with shock the disturbing news which shows raiding of Sekunjalo Offices by FSCA. We view this move by FSCA as hypocrisy and knee- jerk. Steinhoff and Markus Jooste have never accounted for their sins on the missing billions which are stolen by the Puppet of the White Monopoly Capital, Markus Jooste. It would be favourable to see the raiding happening in Steinhoff. As COSAS Eastern Cape, we vow to stand 100% behind Dr Iqbal Survé as he represents black excellence," the organisation, which is in alliance with the ANC, said in the statement.
COSAS's condemnation of the raid is one of the many that came from various formations. Chairperson of Sekunjalo, Dr Iqbal Survé , described the raid as a fishing expedition. Shortly after the raid, the Black First Land First (BLF) said the raids were part of a ruthless campaign of misinformation, defamation and lies conducted against Survé – in a bid to destroy him and his companies because he represents a precedent for black success.
"The probe by FSCA into allegations of market manipulation and contravention of section 80 of the Financial Markets Act is clearly motivated by WMC. The enemy of media transformation is conducting a ruthless campaign via repression, misinformation, defamation and lies against Survé in a bid to destroy him.
“We agree with the sentiments of Dr Survé regarding the allegations that Sekunjalo Holdings is irregularly share trading against AYO Technology Solutions. We say, if the investigation needed information about AYO that they believed was on the laptops and computer hard drives held at the companies of Survé, they should have simply asked for it. Instead of investigating the complaint lodged by Sekunjalo that ‘certain well-known hedge funds and asset managers’ were attempting to bring down the share price of AYO, FSCA is now being used to investigate Sekunjalo,” the pro-black party said.
Speaking a day after the raid, Dr Survé said it should be noted that the FSCA has not raided any other company in South Africa, in the way it raided the Sekunjalo offices. Survé described the FSCA’s action as a blatant abuse of power, with a specific purpose to achieve private and personal agendas.
“For the record, had the FSCA asked, we would have been more than willing to hand over the requested documents. At least 90 percent of the information that they were allegedly looking for is already in the public domain and could easily have been accessed via a request for information via a normal subpoena.
“There was absolutely no need for the issuing of such a warrant. It is an unprecedented and draconian measure, which also incurred significant cost to the regulator,” Survé said.
Joining the chorus of condemnation, the Public Servants' Association (PSA) slammed the raid by the FSCA saying it proved that the state regulatory body was being used to settle personal scores.
The union's spokesperson Ivan Fredericks said it regarded the raid on Survé “as a demonstration of sick hypocrisy by this institution and further fuels the perception that it is used for personal vendetta in a political scuffle, while large corrupt corporates are left without any interrogation.
“The PSA noticed the same trend at the PIC Commission where Steinhoff (was) not even featured, despite glaring evidence of unprecedented accounting fraud. In addition, many JSE-listed companies and implicated accounting firms are for some reason overlooked for their criminality in fraudulent activities.
The union's spokesperson Ivan Fredericks said it regarded the raid on Survé “as a demonstration of sick hypocrisy by this institution and further fuels the perception that it is used for personal vendetta in a political scuffle, while large corrupt corporates are left without any interrogation or raids by the FSCA.”
In a statement after the raid, the FSCA said that the operation was conducted as part of an investigation into allegations of prohibited trading practices, in possible contravention of section 80 of the Financial Markets Act.
“As a market conduct regulator, the FSCA is mandated in terms of the Financial Sector Regulation Act, 9 of 2017 to investigate and, in appropriate instances, take enforcement action in cases of market abuse on the financial markets,” it said.