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Even in the alternate universe occupied by Iqbal Survé’s Independent Media Group, the past weekend was weird. Like the story highlighting disgraced Saxonwold Shebeener Brian Molefe’s asserting that he can fix Eskom – something akin to a resurrected Adolf Hitler claiming he’d be the person to help Holocaust survivors.
Then the penny dropped. Pressure on those running the heavily indebted, loss-making media company has just hit the equivalent of Defcon 1. On Sunday, the final report by Judge Lex Mpati’s commission of inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation was due to be handed to President Cyril Ramaphosa. This report contains the real story of Independent’s future.
There have been three well publicised postponements of Mpati’s final report this far. No such notification this time. So it’s likely while SA holidayed yesterday, its Commander in Chief was absorbing findings from the commission he established in October 2018. The conclusions are sure to trigger a raft of reactions. None pleasant for the 56 year old medical doctor who chairs one of SA’s oldest media organisations.
For Survé, the stakes could not be higher. If the report rules as most rational minds expect, Independent Newspapers will swiftly follow SA Airways into Business Rescue. How so? Evidence to the Commission showed how, for years, State pensioners unwittingly funded the beleaguered media business. The retirees will want their money back. Or as much as can be squeezed from the carcass of the heavily-indebted loss maker.
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.