Sekunjalo: Here are the facts
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The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) launched an attempt in the Western Cape High Court this week to liquidate Sekunjalo Independent Media (SIM), a move SIM has labelled as “frivolous”.
It has accused the government-owned asset manager of incompetence, bad faith and malice. And it has stated categorically that it owes the corporation nothing.
Action was first signalled a month ago when a PIC official told MPs at a committee hearing that the corporation intended liquidating Sekunjalo. This understandably upset the Sekunjalo Group and its boss, Dr Iqbal Survé, and was interpreted as a move to embarrass and undermine them.
The remarks gave rise to suspicions that PIC decisions were being driven by more than commercial considerations.
The facts are that SIM and Independent Media are separate entities. SIM is a special purpose vehicle, a consortium including Sekunjalo, Sactwu, Cosatu and various women’s groupings. It was set up to buy Independent Media.
Independent Media was acquired by SIM (55%), Interacom (the China International Television Corporation and the China-Africa Development Fund) bought 20%, and the PIC on behalf of the Government Employees’ Pension Fund took 25%.
It now goes to a judge to weigh this week’s formal assertion that SIM owes the PIC, and SIM’s robust denials and its instruction to lawyers to fight the application. SIM has also pointed out that it wrote to the PIC six weeks ago, pointing to its error in going after it.
While this unfolds, however, business goes on at Independent Media, including editorial, sales, circulation, production and so on. We remain steadfastly dedicated to serving our readers and clients as we always have, in spite of the corporate hostilities, and the actions that go with them.
We cannot allow this controversy, nor any other machinations, to distract us from our purpose: strengthening our democracy by serving people with a credible newspaper that reflects developments in our city, province, country and beyond; and provides analysis and a dynamic platform for free speech and a great variety of views.