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Smoke and mirrors: Daily Maverick and Cohen continue propaganda and lies against Survé and Sekunjalo

Branislav Branko Brkic’s Daily Maverik’s propaganda machine is at it again, peddling more lies in the bid to eliminate Independent Media. Graphic: Sizwe Dlamini

Branislav Branko Brkic’s Daily Maverik’s propaganda machine is at it again, peddling more lies in the bid to eliminate Independent Media. Graphic: Sizwe Dlamini

Published May 6, 2022

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Branislav Branko Brkic’s Daily Maverik’s propaganda machine is at it again, peddling more lies in the bid to eliminate Independent Media.

While Cohen might call his rhetoric satire, let’s call it what it really is – propaganda.

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Propaganda can be defined as information or ideas that are spread by an organised group to influence people’s opinions by not giving all the facts, or by secretly emphasising only one way of looking at the facts.

The Daily Maverick’s Tim Cohen – who once suggested that the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) should force a merger between then Tiso Black Star and Independent Media – has opted to spread lies about the media house. Could this be a case of sour grapes because his reasoning behind the call for a merger made no sense to anyone?

Cohen previously had to apologise for propagating a direct link between Sekunjalo Investment Holdings (SIH) chairman, Dr Iqbal Survé, and JSE-listed AYO Technology Solutions (AYO), however, with Sekunjalo being in the spotlight as it takes on the banks, opportunistic Cohen got another chance to peddle more of his rhetoric to fuel the Daily Maverick’s propaganda machine.

Cohen has incorrectly stated as fact, that when the PIC invested in AYO in 2017, the PIC protected itself somewhat by agreeing that if the shares slipped below R30 per share for a certain length of time, the organisation would have a claim on roughly R1 billion in AYO shares.

We have checked, and there never was such an agreement. Investment by the PIC was never given any such downside protection and no such protection agreement ever came into effect. If there was such an agreement, then it would have meant that AYO would have had to run an announcement on the Stock Exchange News Service as per Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) regulations.

Cohen goes on to say the market was not aware of this agreement, suggesting that it may have been a discreet agreement, which is completely off the mark. Why would the PIC be quiet about this? It’s certainly not been shy on being forthcoming on other matters AYO-related.

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Cohen and the Daily Maverick’s plan is clearly designed to put the focus on AYO and on Survé, conflating the two entities (again), and roping Sekunjalo in for good measure, to drive an agenda that looks like a personal vendetta for anyone sitting on the sidelines.

Often the question of AYO’s valuation at the time of listing is used to skew matters, yet, at the time of listing and thereafter, there had been no issues with the listing share price. Indeed, the company by all accounts was welcomed onto the bourse with open arms.

Cohen and his Daily Maverick cohort also throw in the Mpati Commission Report, as fodder, but for naught, given that the Heath review report cleared AYO and Sekunjalo of any wrongdoing. In fact, even the Mpati Commission made no adverse findings against this black-owned conglomerate.

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Well-placed sources have alleged that there are journalists working with asset managers to bring down the share price of AYO in a bid to put some truth to their lies. AYO certainly believes it to be the case, having issued a statement to that effect earlier in the week. Were this to be true it would be collusion at its best.

The interesting thing is that when AYO sent a letter to the JSE querying what it considered to be a manipulation of its share price, the JSE’s response was almost instantaneous, almost as if it had already been prepared and was awaiting query.

Could it be that the JSE is acting in concert and colluding with others to destroy the Sekunjalo Group?

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Sizwe Dlamini is Investigations Editor at Independent Media. [email protected]

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