Executive Chairman of Independent Media and Sekunjalo Investment Holdings Dr Iqbal Surve appears to be planning to use an “anti-racism” campaign, recently launched by Independent Media, Sekunjalo and SACTWU, to smear critics as “racist”. This emerged from an exchange between Dr Surve and Dr Mills Soko, an Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, on the latter’s Facebook page.
Those who Dr Surve apparently plans to “expose” as “closet racists” include editor of BizNews, Alec Hogg, Politicsweb editor James Myburgh, and author of How Long Will South Africa Survive and regular Politicsweb contributor RW Johnson. This follows Politicsweb’s publication late last year of an article by Myburgh on Independent Media which documented for the first time the full extent of the Public Investment Corporation’s financial involvement in the purchase of the group from its Irish owners in August 2013.
The article questioned how the group would be able to pay back the loan extended by the Government Employees Pension Fund to help fund the purchase given the continued decline in core circulation of most of its titles, or how it could exert editorial independence from government given its reported R896m debt to the GEPF. The article was subsequently re-posted on BizNews by Alec Hogg. Hogg noted in his introduction that insider talk, at the time, was that the price paid by the Sekunjalo consortium was double what the group was really worth. More recently RW Johnson also commented critically on the ANC’s failed efforts to buy influence through The New Age and the Independent Media purchase.
Responding to a recent Facebook comment by Dr Mills Soko on the Chris Hart affair, which criticised Alec Hogg’s defence of Hart, Dr Surve wrote:
“It is time we assert our right to dignity as black South Africans. Alec Hogg, R.W Johnson,James Myburgh and many others need to be exposed as closet racists with a right wing economic agenda to preserve the white economic and political status quo. Independent has today launched a campaign to expose and name and shame such racists. i expect them to write some more nasty articles now about Independent to protect there (sic) right wing hedgemony (sic) ;).”
In response Dr Soko responded: