Business Maverick

INTERNAL MEMOS

Independent Media alerts staff to short-payment of March salaries, instructs management to organise ‘rescue plan’

Independent Media alerts staff to short-payment of March salaries, instructs management to organise ‘rescue plan’
Iqbal Survé is the chairman of Independent Media. (Photos: Lerato Maduna / Gallo Images / Foto24 / Adobe Stock)

More than 1,000 employees of Independent Media received notice this week that only 75% of their salaries would be paid on Saturday morning, with communication regarding payment of the remaining 25% to follow next week, because 'our shareholders have advised us that they will no longer be supporting Independent Media financially'.

Daily Maverick is in possession of two internal memos. The first is the memo to staff alerting them to a short-payment of salaries, and urging staff to make necessary provisions to pay their monthly commitments, with the assurance that “we are happy to issue a confirmation of this arrangement in writing to any creditors that require such information”.

The second memo, to senior staff members and management, advises that “the business is in a very precarious situation”. Management has been organised into 15 separate groups, with instructions to develop a five-point “intervention and rescue plan”, which must be submitted to chief executive Takudzwa Hove by close of business on Monday, 27 March. Hove’s instructions are that groups are to focus only on “matters which have a high financial impact and which can be implemented urgently i.e. within 30 to 60 days”. 

According to the Independent Media website, its shareholders are Sagarmatha Technologies and Interacom Investment Holdings, which comprises China International Television Corporation and the China-Africa Development Fund. The Sagarmatha Technologies website is “down for maintenance”.

According to the Sekunjalo website, Iqbal Survé is the chairman of Independent Media. Sekunjalo is the controlling shareholder in AYO Technologies, which reached a controversial out-of-court settlement with the Public Investment Corporation this week. 

When asked if the sudden pulling of shareholder funding for Independent Media had anything to do with the fact that AYO has had to immediately pay about R600-million to the PIC, an Independent Media spokesperson hotly denied this. A statement mailed to Daily Maverick said, “Let us be clear, the out-of-court settlement between AYO and the PIC has nothing whatsoever to do with Independent Media. A wholly objective reviewing of the AYO/PIC matter would clearly determine why that matter was resolved in the way it was.”

The spokesperson pointed out that all media, especially print media, are experiencing challenges, with the price of newsprint having gone up by 30% in the last year alone.

“Independent Media distributes throughout the country and the cost of distribution has also increased, along with the costs of fuel over the last while – this has also impacted on overall operational costs. Thirdly, inflation and the impact on all other operational requirements has contributed immensely to these costs.” 

The spokesperson says Independent Media is taking the appropriate measures to align its revenues with its cost structure, as it cannot rely on its shareholders to continuously provide it with capital to plug the gap. BM/DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Johan Buys says:

    put this miserable mess out of its misery

  • Zonker Zoggs says:

    Oh no! Hopefully the beginning of the end for Iqbals media ‘empire’ , the toxic phony

  • Caroline de Braganza says:

    They should close down – I stopped buying their newspapers after the takeover – as I’m sure many other people did. I prefer professional journalism such as that found on Daily Maverick!

  • Hugh Tyrrell says:

    Chickens coming home to roost for Surve, not a moment too soon. The country will be a lot better served and informed without IOLs daily falsities.

  • Chris 123 says:

    Karma

  • Chris 123 says:

    A mysterious funder will appear, it’s the only ANC mouthpiece that will sing it’s propaganda in the upcoming elections.

  • KM Moodley says:

    I am an avid reader of newspapers having subscribed to Mercury, Daily News, Post and Sunday Tribune, and Sunday Times, for nearly 35 years. The quality of their articles then, was of international standard. The journalists and the editors were, by and large, professionals in their fields.
    Since Survee purchased IM the token editors and journalists he appointed since then were falling over themselves competing with each other to see who gave Survee the most publicity. Hardly a publication went by without glorious reference being made to Survee. Investigative journalism was foreign to them. Their professionalism clearly went out the window.
    There was no way that I was going to pay to subscribe to publications that clearly were the glorified advertising arms of Survee.
    I have since cancelled my subscriptions with all publications at IM.
    My subscriptions remain with Daily Maverick and Sunday Times and I never once regretted my decision.
    The article confirms that I made the right decision.

  • Steve Broekmann says:

    Since the IM titles are commercially insolvent their shares have only token value. What if DM were to take the lead in making Dr Surve a nominal offer, eg for the Cape Times and Star, to be funded by a public share offering? I would love to see some of those IM titles survive and if a credible news organisation like DM took over control, subscriptions would increase and advertisers would return to take advantage of new credibility and circulation figures

  • Meirion Griffiths says:

    Here’s the only five-point intervention plan that will save the group:
    1: Fire Surve
    2: Fire Surve
    3. Fire Surve
    4: Fire Surve
    5: Fire Surve

  • Gazeley Walker says:

    Who are these “shareholders” referred to? Are they not the self same companies, like AYO, who are all linked to the “honourable” Dr. Surve and who have to scrounge up a quick R 600 million to pay off the PIC?
    I am curious about how all his employee “praise singers” feel about the betrayal after writing all those “balanced and fair” (ha ha wink wink) articles supporting Surve in his battle with the PIC.

  • Kevin Immelman says:

    As a firm supporter of the titles in the group prior to Surve’s takeover, I am so happy to see that I am not the only former reader that has refused to buy into the BS that Surve has dished up as journalism. What will help IM survive is a complete takeover by professional newsman in place of the clowns currently running the circus.

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