JOHANNESBURG — Leaks of the Gupta family’s emails have rustled political feathers in South Africa. The likes of investigative unit amaBhungane, Daily Maverick’s Scorpio as well as the Sunday Times and City Press have helped unearth the contents of these emails. One particular story – produced by amaBhungane and published on BizNews as well as News24 – reveals how Dr Iqbal Survé, Executive Chairman of Independent Media and Sekunjalo Investment Group, was once close to the Guptas but then had a money-related falling out. The story goes into how he even attended the controversial 2013 Gupta wedding at Sun City where he demanded only the best in terms of accommodation. But Independent Media (along with just the byline ‘Independent Media’) has now subsequently responded to this story, hitting out at BizNews and Alec Hogg in the process. – Gareth van Zyl
From Independent Media
What Bell Pottinger is to the Guptas, Alec Hogg is to the agents of regime change in South Africa.
Hogg’s news website, BizNews, represents gutter journalism and he is a purveyor of fake news that is inaccurate, out of context and devoid of any real facts in his obsession to defame Dr Iqbal Survé, Executive Chairman of Independent Media and Sekunjalo Investment Group.
Hogg made it his life’s mission to discredit black business in South Africa, while turning a blind eye to the major indiscretions of his masters, which include Naspers.
The recent BizNews article, which is prefaced by an attention-grabbing headline and a misleading introduction by UK-based Jackie Cameron, suggests amongst others, that Survé used his influence and relationship with the ANC to gain government advertising support for Independent Media, which is apparently evidenced by Survé’s presence in several photographs with President Jacob Zuma.
Let’s separate fact from Hogg’s fiction.
Fact: Independent Media, along with other major print publishing companies in South Africa, has experienced an annual decline in government advertising. The decline was in line with government’s strategy to reduce advertising spend in print. SABC radio and television, on the other hand, showed a marked increase in government advertising spend.
Fact: As a South African business leader, Survé represents the country on various international platforms. He is the first chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Global Growth Companies (GGC) Advisory Board and Vice-chairman of the Global Agenda Council (GAC) for Emerging Multinationals. He is a participant member of the G20 meeting and serves on B20 Task Teams as well as the UNGA private sector forum. On the invitation of SA Presidents Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma, he has participated on many presidential advisory working groups and state visits. He was recently appointed Chair of the South African chapter of the BRICS Business Council. These are all high-profile, professional leadership positions similar to those enjoyed by other CEOs and chairmen of major corporations in South Africa which attract extensive publicity and often share a public platform with President Zuma. To suggest that Survé’s presence on platforms with President Zuma is an attempt to secure government’s favour, is scurrilous and a blatant untruth.
The article also suggests that Survé has a seemingly strained relationship with the Guptas while simultaneously enjoying a good relationship with them when he was seen to have attended the Gupta wedding in Sun City.
Fact: Survé attended the Gupta wedding, along with several other CEOs and captains of industry, including other media bosses such as Esmaré Weideman of Media24. So determined is Hogg to cast aspersions on Survé and to claim a close association between Survé and the Gupta family, that he blatantly does not refer to the presence of these CEOs at the wedding. It is fair to say that attending a wedding does not mean that you agree with the policies and business approach of the host.
Fact: The Guptas are in dispute with Dr Survé and Independent Media. This is a matter of public record. They have differences in their approach to business and these differences have resulted in the Guptas making public statements against Dr Survé and Independent Media. Far from the Guptas having any relationship with Dr Survé, the status quo is indeed one which has seen them in direct opposition to each other. Any attempt to suggest that there is a relationship between Survé and the Guptas, is inaccurate and tantamount to fake news.
Over the past three years, and since the acquisition of Independent Media by a Sekunjalo-led consortium, BizNews has consistently published articles about the company and several other successful black professionals and companies, while deliberately attempting to defame and discredit them. He has used lies, innuendo and defamation to fuel his onslaught against Independent Media, Dr Survé as well as the Sekunjalo Investment Group.
Hogg has relocated his business to the UK where it appears he is supporting an agenda focused on discrediting South Africa, the black business community and the ANC, while also undermining the sovereignty of the country and in particular, promoting regime change.
Whose interests is he serving? Is it not time for Hogg to reveal the real reason for relocating to the UK and to disclose who his backers are?
Perhaps it is no coincidence that Hogg’s attack follows an address by Survé to an international audience who attended the board dinner of the World Association of News Congress (WAN-IFRA) on Tuesday evening in Durban. In his speech, Survé referred to the role of the media under apartheid and lambasted companies like Naspers for aiding and abetting the apartheid regime. Naspers made significant economic gains from this relationship which has laid the foundation for the company’s success today while continuing to represent apartheid interests.
Why is Hogg for instance not writing disparagingly about DSTV recently admitting to price fixing and contravening the Competition Act, for which they have agreed to pay a fine of R22 million. Are the admitted offenders in this instance not black enough for Hogg and too close to home?
The despicable and amateurish attempts by Alec Hogg will not succeed and in fact South Africans will become wiser to the fact that Alec Hogg is under the control of his masters in London, including Naspers in South Africa.