Cape Town - AYO Technology Solutions (AYO) chairman Advocate Wallace Mgoqi said on Tuesday that the ICT company will be instituting damages claims estimated to run into billions of rands against a number of parties that had deliberately and maliciously defamed AYO over the last few months.
Mgoqi stated that the actions of these parties were "economic and business sabotage".
Mgoqi also said this had cost AYO billions in lost revenue, resulted in the cancellation of contracts, and had slowed down the company’s acquisition strategy.
According to Mgoqi, AYO is a victim of a deliberate misinformation campaign that was designed to undermine its business model and to destroy South Africa’s largest black ICT company.
AYO’s chairman also conveyed that the company had been restrained and responsible in its responses to these highly defamatory attacks, many of which were passed by former employees, media houses - in print, television and online - and employees of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).
Additionally, journalists like Business Day’s Warren Thompson are guilty of writing highly misleading and defamatory articles, which have all contributed to the challenge on AYO’s share price and the company’s negative reputation. The reporting during the PIC Commission of Inquiry in particular, conveyed nuances of subliminal racism, which cannot be tolerated in South Africa under any circumstances, Mgoqi said.
AYO is waiting for the PIC Commission of Inquiry report to be made public before issuing any formal external comment. However, by all accounts, the report had made no adverse findings against AYO or any of its officials, the chairman said.
"AYO has maintained all along that its executives had presented a sound investment case to the PIC and that the PIC had invested in line with the investment case and its own and the country’s economic transformation policies.
"It should be noted that AYO has in fact, created value for the PIC as a shareholder. AYO, for example, has increased its asset base to more than R5 billion," Mgoqi said. "Yet an unrelenting slew of adverse (and untrue) media reports caused the PIC to prematurely launch a court application against AYO to recoup its investment, even before the PIC report was compiled."
Mgoqi also pertinently pointed out that many other companies had defrauded the PIC and had lost more than 90% of their value, yet the PIC had not instituted any action against them – "at least none that had been made public".
"It is also noted that it is highly unusual for media articles to report on the investors involved in companies. For example, RMB’s investors are not referred to when happenings about it are covered by the media. AYO therefore questions the need for Dr Iqbal Survé’s name to constantly be attached to any and every story relating to AYO. While Dr Survé is indeed an investor in AYO through AEEI, he does not hold any executive or non-executive post in the company. AYO wishes to make that abundantly clear to all," Mgoqi said.
The media has misrepresented the positioning of AYO at multiple levels, resulting in one of the most severely malicious disinformation campaigns ever launched against a single business in the country.
He said that the media has misrepresented the positioning of AYO at multiple levels, "resulting in one of the most severely malicious disinformation campaigns ever launched against a single business in the country".
Mgoqi advised that AYO has now taken counsel with a view to preparing legal suits to recover the tens of billions in lost revenue, which the company has endured as a result of the disinformation, misrepresentation and defamation.
"AYO is determined to hold parties to account for any and all damaging defamatory statements about the company," Mgoqi said.