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Iqbal Survé and Sekunjalo in legal bid to set aside Mp...

Business Maverick

REVIEW APPLICATION

Iqbal Survé and Sekunjalo in legal bid to set aside Mpati Commission report

Iqbal Survé, the founder and chairperson of Sekunjalo. (Photo: Gallo Images / Wessel Oosthuizen)

In what seems to be a last-ditch effort to restore credibility, Iqbal Survé, Sekunjalo Investment Holdings and the Sekunjalo Group have filed for a formal legal review of the Mpati Commission report into alleged impropriety at the Public Investment Corporation.

In addition to Sekunjalo and Iqbal Survé, about 49 other applicants are listed, including several trusts, Premier Fishing, AYO Technology Solutions, Independent Media and Sagarmatha Technologies. 

The application comes days after Standard Bank finally cut ties with Sekunjalo and other associated entities, citing reputational risk. Other banks that have already slammed the door on Survé include FirstRand, which owns FNB; Nedbank; Absa; Mercantile Bank; Sasfin; Investec Bank; Bidvest Bank; and Access Bank. 

Speaking to SAfm earlier this week, Survé says that detractors of Independent Media have been writing negatively about the company, and that the banks cite this negative coverage as part of the reason for shutting down Sekunjalo and other accounts. 

“We’ve taken them to court with the interdict against Nedbank and to the Competition Commission to fight … this corporate bullying,” he said. 

Survé said the shutting down of the accounts had nothing to do with the Mpati Commission. “Nobody has been able to prove any wrongdoing on the part of any company within the Sekunjalo group,” he told radio host Aldrin Sampear.

The application, filed at the Western Cape High Court, follows an independent review of the Mpati report by retired Judge Willem Heath, who recommended that Sekunjalo had just cause and grounds for a full review. However, the Heath report, which was commissioned by Sekunjalo Investment Holdings, is yet to be publicly released, has not been viewed by other media and is often extensively quoted by Survé and Independent Media.

Respondents in the case are the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of Impropriety at the Public Investment Corporation, Lex Mpati, Gill Marcus, Emmanuel Lediga, Jannie Lubbe, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, the Minister of Finance, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and the South African President.

Among others, the action has been instituted to have the commission’s decision to amend its terms of reference to investigate transactions falling outside of the prescribed period, unlawful and in violation of the Constitution.

Sekunjalo is of the opinion that the commission unlawfully adopted its own terms of reference, deviating from the terms of reference gazetted by the President, and that Sekunjalo was never part of the terms of reference, yet became a focus of the Mpati Commission. 

In an affidavit attached to the application, Survé says “unless the commission report is reviewed and set aside … it will remain a weapon in the hands of [Sekunjalo’s] business competitors and enemies, the government agencies that have used it to victimise the applicants, and used to justify the vindictive and unlawful steps taken by the banks to close the applicants’ bank accounts”.

Independent Media has previously cited the Heath report, saying that former Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus, who was appointed as a commissioner, had a serious conflict of interest in relation to the PIC investments under investigation. 

Marcus declined to comment when contacted by Daily Maverick. BM/DM

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  • Too late. The report was released on 12 March 2020. PAJA review must be launched within 180 days and a legality review within a reasonable time. Two years is not reasonable.

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