Viceroy looks to “do a Steinhoff” on Capitec

By Alec Hogg

In Davos last week, I asked Prof Yuval Noah Harari, the inimitable author of Sapiens and Homo Deus, for advice on how to tackle the scourge of Fake News. His response was instructive.

Fake news, he noted, has been with humanity for centuries. There have always been those who seek to profit from manipulating messages to their own benefit.

Harari urges journalists to interrogate opinions and statements, and to contextualise them before publishing.  Failure to do this makes them accomplices to spreading the Fake News virus, particularly when allegations come from those with an obvious vested interest.

After yesterday’s report from short-selling research firm Viceroy, the Israeli prof’s words are timeous. Viceroy’s spectacular success with Steinhoff means the firm’s attack on Capitec now carries disproportionate weight. But each such case needs to be treated on its merits. Especially, in the current political environment, when the target happens to be headquartered in Stellenbosch.