Sekunjalo sues TMG for defamation

PRESS RELEASE

Sekunjalo sues TMG for defamation

Sekunjalo Investment Group, which owns Independent Media, today announced that they have instructed their attorneys Webber Wentzel   to institute legal proceedings against Times Media Group (TMG) following its publication of  a defamatory article,  “Breaking the News”, authored by Ann Crotty. Sekunjalo will shortly announce similar instructions against other media outlets that have republished the offending article.

Sekunjalo Group applauds the decision announced last week by Independent Media and the African News Agency (ANA) who announced that they will sue TMG for R200m and R500m respectively.  Sekunjalo’s damages claim will be for R500m and this brings the total damages claim against TMG to R1,2 billion.

Sekunjalo Group portfolio comprises investments in more than 200 companies across the African continent, Switzerland, USA and China, including shareholdings and partnerships with 9 multinational companies operating in Africa. The group has significant investments in South Africa with major listed and private companies, all of whom directly and indirectly employ in excess of 115 000 people.

“The Sekunjalo Group considers the Crotty article an insult made with a colonial and apartheid era mentality. The suggestion that Independent Media which constitutes less than 2% of Sekunjalo’s investment portfolio, is being asset-stripped is both laughable and bizarre. It speaks to the moral bankruptcy of the individuals who write such slander.

These same individuals either remain silent or they applaud Independent’s competitors when they restructure their businesses for whatever reasons, but when a black controlled company like Sekunjalo does it they call it “asset-stripping”.

Sekunjalo has in its 20 year history won many awards and has been a stellar example of good corporate governance and sound business practices and values. We take the highly defamatory accusation of asset-stripping very seriously. It is an insult to our ethical business practices and our adherence to good corporate governance which are integral to all our businesses – both in South Africa and globally,” said Executive Chairman of Sekunjalo investment Group, Dr Iqbal Survé.

Far from asset-stripping, Dr Survé said that since acquiring Independent Media, Sekunjalo has invested in excess of R200m in the business to assist the company’s evolution from essentially a print media to a multi-platform media company.  Backed by Independent Media’s board of directors and shareholders, Sekunjalo’s investments were directed at funding, amongst others, new technology, IT infrastructure and the up-skilling and training of journalists. The move was in line with the company’s strategy to transition to a digitally-driven company while optimizing efficiencies throughout the organization. Sekunjalo intends to invest a further R500 million in the next 3 years. Dr Survé is confident of an award of significant damages for the defamatory statements made by Ann Crotty, which he said  “is fitting for a novel of fiction”. He would like to see such award being used for the further education and training of journalists.

Dr Survé added that since the acquisition of Independent Media in 2013, there has been a deliberate campaign of bullying, lies, distortion and disinformation against himself, Independent Media and Sekunjalo.  This seems to have the hallmarks of a sinister and deliberate strategy by our competitors and detractors. The racism is evident in this campaign.

“Clearly this campaign is designed to undermine our investment, our business credibility and our transformation agenda, but it also highlights the lengths to which our competitors will go to hold on to the traditionally white-dominated media which benefitted royally from apartheid,” he said.

“It is normal practice for any dynamic company to constantly review its business strategy and add value for its shareholders.  All companies and especially media companies the world over do this especially in today’s rapidly changing media environment. We have witnessed our competitors restructure their businesses without any comment from our detractors. This whole situation is vindictive and defamatory and we have to draw the line,” said Dr Survé.

Sekunjalo further believes that the legal action that it will institute against TMG as well as the pending legal action against other individuals and media outlets  is a sign of its support for small black owned publishers who have been trampled on by the big media conglomerates and who remain prejudiced by the monopolization of media in SA.

“We will not be intimidated and therefore we have no hesitation in holding them to account as companies, groups and in their personal capacities in our courts and in the courts abroad.   This fight is not only our fight; it is a fight on behalf of small, black owned publishers who have been bullied by the media monopolies and there surrogates,” said Dr Survé.

Most importantly this fight is about the control and transformation of the media and ultimately about the economy of this country. The time is now” said Dr Survé.

 

ENDS

 

 

 

 

Independent Media to sue Times Media Group for R300 million

PRESS RELEASE

Independent Media has instructed its legal team to institute proceedings against Times Media Group (TMG) following their refusal to retract a defamatory article, written by Ann Crotty, which was published in Financial Mail and Business Live on 23 February 2017.

Several untrue and defamatory statements were contained in the article, “Breaking the News, including allegations, innuendo and questions regarding Independent Media’s current financial standing and its ability to repay loans.

A significant portion of the article claims that Independent Media entered into deals with and sold profitable assets to an entity called Africa Media Group to the disadvantage and detriment of its shareholders.  Independent Media has no knowledge of the existence of this entity.

It is clear that the intention of the article was to spread fake news about Independent Media, portray a picture of underhandedness and to create suspicion and discomfort amongst shareholders, readers and advertisers.  The article also suggests that Independent Media has diminished in stature and would enter into deals without there being a sound business rationale.

Independent Media has questioned the integrity and journalistic ethics of the writer and the motive of those publishing entities of Times Media Group which published the article.

Since the acquisition of Independent Media in 2013, Sekunjalo Group has invested in excess of R200m in technological and digital advancements as well as skills training and development for journalists as part of its strategy to migrate the Independent Media brand from a largely print media to a multi-platform media group. This investment came with the full approval and support of the existing shareholders who will benefit from the increased value created as a result of Sekunjalo’s additional financial injection into Independent Media since the acquisition.

Commenting on the matter, Chief of Staff of Independent Media, Zenariah Barends said: “I have been at Independent since February 2014.  Prior to me joining the company and since, there has been a barrage of attacks against us, including personal attacks on Dr Survé, by the same groups and individuals. I have to wonder at the reasons for the consistent negative reporting about our company these past three years. It is certainly not normal. I would like to put it down to a case of sour grapes, as a number of our detractors were former employees at Independent Media.  But the frequency and volume of negativity and malice, suggests something more sinister.”

She added that the company will be instituting the necessary steps to sue the parties mentioned.  “We want to get on with our business and build a media house where South Africans who are interested in developing our democracy know they have a trusted source of information.”

 

ENDS

SEKUNJALO INVESTMENT YIELDS RESULTS FOR INDEPENDENT MEDIA

Media Release

The Sekunjalo Group congratulated Independent Media on its nomination as a finalist in three categories at this year’s International News Media Association’s (INMA) Global Media Awards.  The Awards take place at the conclusion of the 87th annual INMA conference in New York in May.

Since Sekunjalo’s acquisition of Independent Media in 2013, Independent Media has been the only African media company to be nominated for INMA’s Global Media Awards for three consecutive years. The INMA Global Media Awards competition this year received 655 entries from 196 media companies in 36 countries. Participants include newspaper media, magazine media, digital media, television media, and radio media.

Prior to the acquisition of Independent Media by the Sekunjalo-led consortium in 2013, the company lacked significant infrastructure in order to compete in the rapidly evolving media environment.  Over the past two years, Sekunjalo invested significantly in technology, innovation and skills training and development, integral to the redesign of the company.

“These nominations and the ongoing recognition by the international media community are direct consequences of the significant investment that Sekunjalo has made in Independent Media over the past two years”, said Dr Survé.

Independent Media was nominated as a finalist in three key categories.

Independent Media’s HOME Property magazine in Kwa-Zulu Natal, was nominated in the category Best Launch of a Brand or Product to Create an Audience Segment in the Local/Regional category.

“This nomination is particularly significant because it emphasises the success of our commercial strategy in Kwa-Zulu Natal.  Amidst considerable investment by our competitors to undermine our home and property leadership in the region, we have emerged successful with this great new value-added product for both our clients and readers”, said Dr Survé.

Independent Media’s national campaign to highlight awareness about racism, Racism Stops With Me, was nominated in the category Best Public Relations or Community Service Campaign in the Global/National category.

 

This campaign was launched in January 2016 when Dr Survé, as Executive Chairman of Independent Media, recognised the need for the media to play a constructive role in highlighting South Africa’s most pressing and burning issues and allowing for healthy debate across all sectors.  He called on all Independent Media stakeholders – readers, commercial partners, advertisers, investors, staff, and society in general – to work together to confront the reality of racism in our society. International media houses have expressed keen interest in collaborating with Independent Media on similar campaigns, acknowledging that racism is an international concern.

The #DontLookAway campaign, a national campaign which ran during the 16 days of activism in support of no violence against women and children was nominated in the category Best Use of Video in the Global/National category.  This campaign formed part of Independent Media’s Media for Social Change programme to mobilise readers and advertisers to become aware of the scourge of violence against women and children.

“We are unashamedly non-racist, non-sexist and purpose-driven.  By publicising the horrific statistics related to women and child abuse we are playing our part in drawing attention to gender violence in our country”, said Dr Survé.

Competition entries were judged in February by an international panel of 44 executives from 17 countries. Judges represented a wide range of media-related companies.

INMA has run an annual competition rewarding excellence in media since 1937. This year’s Global Media Awards competition focused on six activities crucial to success:

  • Energising brands.
  • Creating new products.
  • Growing, engaging, and monetising audiences.
  • Growing advertising revenue.
  • Developing customer insights.
  • Instilling innovation.

 

African News Agency to sue Times Media Group for R500 million

Press Release

On instructions of African News Agency (ANA), our attorneys, Webber Wentzel, sent letters of demand  to Times Media Group, Ann Crotty, Ray Hartley, Business Day and Business Live on  8th of March 2017 demanding that they retract defamatory statements made about ANA in an article, “Breaking the News” published on 23 February 2017. They were given three days to retract the defamatory article but have instead released a further statement repeating the original defamatory article.

Ann Crotty and Times Media Group’s Financial Mail have in their most recent statement  misinformed the public by stating that they had contacted ANA. We wish to make it clear that at no stage has any reporter from Financial Mail, Business Day or Business Live contacted ANA, its Chief Executive or President regarding the claims made in their article. Furthermore, no other ANA staff member was contacted by the Financial Mail or Ann Crotty regarding the claims published in their original  article. In this regard Ann Crotty, the Financial Mail and Business Live chose to ignore ethical journalistic practice by neglecting to verify the validity of any of their claims.

ANA is a global content syndication service provider with video, text and pictures using world class technology which has attracted international investors both for its content syndication service and its soon-to-be-launched social media platforms. These investors are partners and committed to ANA’s growth strategy within South Africa and the rest of the world. ANA further plans to extend its footprint into various other locations including Boston, New York, San Francisco, London, Paris and Mumbai.

The defamatory article published by Ann Crotty and the Financial Mail has resulted in significant reputational damage to ANA, its international investors and partners, including its 40-plus media partners globally. Should Ann Crotty, the Financial Mail, Business Live, Business Day or any other reporter of Times Media Group have contacted ANA, we would gladly have provided them with the correct information.

ANA has set aside a substantial sum to litigate against Times Media Group and Tiso Blackstar, to claim an amount of R500 million in damages suffered.

To date, ANA has raised more than R2 billion in the global capital market from our investors and has their full backing to pursue a full damages claim against Ann Crotty, Times Media Group, its publications and other executives for these defamatory statements. ANA also plans to hold Tiso Blackstar, listed on the AIM of the London Stock Exchange, to account for these defamatory statements. ANA strongly believes its claims will be successful against Times Media Group, its publications, Ann Crotty and others for the publication of numerous false defamatory statements.

Through the article published by Times Media Group and its publications, Ann Crotty has dragged ANA into the alleged ongoing smear campaign by several journalists, including former journalists of Independent Media against Independent Media, Sekunjalo and Dr Survé. Recent statistics and industry research show that Times Media Group is facing financial challenges and have lost significant market share to their rivals including Independent Media, Media24 and CTP. More importantly, their rivals, continue to outperform them in terms of circulation and technology innovation.

ANA is reluctant, but feels compelled to take legal action against Times Media Group in the South African and UK courts and, after having carefully considered the legal issues ANA is confident that it will be successful in holding them to account for publishing false and defamatory statements.

 

ENDS

________________________________________________________________

Issued by Grant Fredericks

Chief Executive Officer

African News Agency

 

email: grant.fredericks@africannewsagency.com

 

 

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE BY SEKUNJALO INVESTMENT HOLDINGS AND RAMPHASTOS INVESTMENTS

SOUTH AFRICAN AND DUTCH BILLIONAIRES START AFRICAN INVESTMENT ALLIANCE 

Dutch entrepreneur Marcel Boekhoorn and South African investor-philanthropist Dr Iqbal Survé today announced a joint investment in a South African gold reclamation project. The investment will see significant amounts of gold being reclaimed from mining dumps using state of the art technology, resulting in both the creation of jobs and foreign currency earnings for the South African economy.

 

Mr Boekhoorn is one of Europe’s most successful investors with a long track record of exceptional returns, making him one of the wealthiest persons in the Netherlands.

 

Mr Boekhoorn’s holding company, Ramphastos Investments, comprises a wide array of business interests ranging from cutting edge technology (voice biometrics, digital antenna’s, de-compostable coffee cups, aviation glass) to private equity and real estate. His most prized real estate asset is the High Tech Campus Eindhoven, often dubbed the most intelligent square mile in the Netherlands.

 

“Partnering with Dr Iqbal Survé, a well-respected and highly reputable industrialist enables us to bring novel technology to the country while capitalizing on Dr Survé’s knowledge and network”, said Mr Boekhoorn.

 

Dr Iqbal Survé is a South African billionaire philanthropist and technology investor, Executive Chairman of Sekunjalo Group and Executive Chairman of Independent Media.

 

Dr Survé emphasized that he expects to report more joint investments with Mr Boekhoorn in the months to come. He concluded that Mr Boekhoorn’s focus on sustainable, impact projects is aligned with some of the objectives of the R500m Sekunjalo Impact Fund, which was launched on 9 February 2017. Two key areas of the Impact Fund are sustainability as well as technologies.

 

Unique about the gold project announced today is the fact that the two businessmen invested without ever having seen each other, both merely relying on on the ground staff’s recommendations. Both entrepreneurs are committed towards a long-term partnership with joint teams already vetting follow-on transactions.

 

ENDS

 

For further information, please contact:

– Corné Melissen [E: corne@ramphastos.com / T: +31 6 13 809 407]

– Lavendra Naidoo [E: info@sekunjalo.com / T: +27 21 671 7058]

AN ASTUTE GIANT HAS FALLEN

Press Release

South Africa stands on the shoulders of giants, those brave enough to use whatever means necessary to fight the former apartheid government.

One of those giants was lawyer and later High Court Judge Essa Moosa, who using his astute legal mind stood up in court for struggle activists, aligning himself with those who fought for freedom and those too poor to defend themselves in court.

His passing on Sunday, surrounded by those closest to him, is devastating. Even though he had been ill for some time.

Sekunjalo and Independent Media Executive chairman, Dr Iqbal Survé said on Sunday he was overcome with grief at Judge Moosa’s death.

“During the eighties we knew who to turn to in times of struggle, we knew that if the security police was hunting us, if activists went missing, if people were being held in detention without trial, that our struggle lawyer Essa Moosa would be there. He did not only provide legal counsel, but also gave some of himself to many of us.” Dr Survé’, said: “We do not only salute him for the work he did during the dark days of apartheid, but also for helping usher in a new, just South Africa. When I visited him last week, I thanked him on behalf of all South Africans and for his guidance to so many of us who fought for political and social justice. Our condolences to Judge Moosa’s family, We thank you sharing such a great man with us. Thank you for opening your home and hearts to us for so many decades. ”

Many journalists at Independent Media came across Judge Moosa at some point of their careers. They were exposed to his fairness and astuteness, he was a lawyer that older journalists will remember for his work under apartheid, for many others, as a judge who paved the way for justice in the country.

Independent Media expresses its sadness at Judge Moosa’s passing. He made an incredible impact on journalism and how legal journalism is covered and written about. Echoing Dr Survé’, Independent Media says even though a giant has fallen, his passing makes us remember why he sacrificed so much, so that millions could have freedom.

Hamba Kahle struggle lawyer. Your contribution will be remembered by millions.

____________________________________________________________

Issued on behalf of Independent Media by:

Lutfia Vajej: Group Executive Marketing and Communications

Email: lutfia.vayej@inl.co.za

Khalid Abdulla, CEO of AEEI opens the JSE in celebration of a multi-award winning year

Press release

– Celebrating an exceptional year of performance, empowerment and governance awards, Khalid Abdulla, Group CEO of African Equity Empowerment Investments Limited (AEEI), was treated by The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) to the sound of its mystical Kudu horn, as he officially opened the markets this morning.

The blowing of the horn (ringing of the bell) has become somewhat of a tradition, although usually reserved for companies that are being listed on the stock exchange. However, Abdulla and AEEI were accorded the honour by virtue of the fact that the company has shown consistent financial growth over several years, with a particularly impressive trading period in the past 12 months and recognised by its peers with several top awards and consistent financial performance.

As testament to its forward thinking approach, its high standards and its ability to deliver results, AEEI was recently recognised by Empowerdex in its annual benchmark of JSE Listed companies as the Most Empowered Company, the Most Empowered Management Control, listed by the Financial Mail as a Top 10 Performer on the JSE for financial performance and was also ranked by IRAS as the Top Performer for the highest SDTI for governance in the Sector: Financial Services – Other.

Accolades for its proficiency are well deserved. It has increased its current market cap to almost R2 billion from R500 million over the past three years, posted consistent above market year-on-year growth, with a record 53% increase in operating profit, and its Net Asset Value (NAV) increasing by 21% for the year to end August 2016. This is made all the more remarkable when considering the tough economic conditions of the times.

Following its ‘Vision 2020 Vision’ strategy which continues to have a positive impact on the growth progression and operational efficiency of all five divisions of this diversified Investment Company. Consistent performance, coupled with increased brand awareness and recognition, its acquisitions and the value it unlocks in its operations as well as strategic investments (like Saab Grintek Defence, British Telecommunication Services South Africa (Pty) Ltd Pioneer Foods Group Limited and asset management company, Sygnia Limited) is attracting investor interest and growing confidence. The company has also created significant stakeholder value.

As one of South Africa’s leading and most successful black empowered listed companies, Abdulla and his colleagues put their sustained growth, financial success and expanding influence down to a few simple principles; The ability to embrace differences – whether it is experience, outlook or knowledge – observe and truly listen to what is going on around them, not just in business but on the ground, in Communities they come from, and ultimately represent, as well as AEEI’s non-judgemental but openminded approach to business and putting stakeholders first.

This perceptive approach is represented in, and delivered on, by AEEI’s holistic ‘Vision 2020 Vision’ strategy. It is underpinned by the holistic professional capabilities of the management team driven and led by Mr Khalid Abdulla and the organisation’s belief in empowering its staff and one of the key reasons why Abdulla has the honour of opening the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Thanking the JSE for awarding AEEI the opportunity, Abdulla said: “This is for each member of the incredible AEEI team (management and staff) who all deserve the recognition and without whom we would not be here today. We are excited about what tomorrow holds.” With that, Abdulla took a deep breath and sounded the future.

As several other additional acquisitions in the new 2017 financial year have already been announced – Puleng Technologies and the most recent being the stake it has taken in Headset Solutions – the predicted listing of its food and fishing, and technology businesses, it may well be sooner, rather than later, that Abdulla’s horn blowing talent is once more tested.

//ends

The top 4 awards again at the end of release:

1. Top financial performance

2. Top empowered company

3. Top empowered management and management controlled company

4. Top award for corporate governance

Should you wish to interview Mr Khalid Abdulla, please contact: Feroza Petersen Communications and Marketing Cell: 082 801 3919

Press release: Survé Philanthropies Responds to Call to Fund “Action Kommandant

Following an article in the Cape Argus on Friday 19 February, “Call to fund Ashley Kriel documentary”, Survé Philanthropies responded to the call to complete the film. Action Kommandant Director, Nadine Cloete, met with Dr Iqbal Survé, who expressed his support for this project and pledged the R 75 000 required to do final editing and colour correction required to make it screen ready.

“I am excited that through our media platforms we have been able to spread awareness of stories like this. It is critical to tell the stories of those struggle heroes who so unselfishly gave their lives to gain a democratic South Africa. Ashley Kriel’s history needs to be known by all South Africans and this film will ensure that this is done,” said Dr Survé of Survé Philanthropies, who is also the Executive Chairman of Sekunjalo Investment Holdings and Independent Media.

“I am providing this support, so that Nadine can complete this film in time for Youth Day 2016. Ashley Kriel’s story will inspire young people who will learn from those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms that we value today. So many others have responded to the call to complete the film and that is fantastic.”

Cloete said that the journey to complete this film had been a long and arduous one and she was quite overwhelmed by the support she was receiving from Survé Philanthropies and many of Ashley Kriel’s comrades.

“I have been working on this film for five years. I never met Ashley but through working on this film and talking to his family and comrades, I feel a deeper sense of him which I hope is conveyed in the documentary. I am committed to completing it, so that people know who Ashley was and how he sacrificed his young life for an ideal of freedom. I am grateful for the support that Survé Philanthropies has provided to achieve this. The crowdfunding campaign is receiving solid support on social media from Ashley’s comrades, which has been amazing. Any extra funding will contribute to any extra edit time needed, broadcasting rights on archive footage and would go towards the launch and marketing of this documentary, to ensure that it is seen by as many people as possible.”

Michél Assure, Ashley Kriel’s sister, said that the documentary had provided some closure for the family. The family has seen a preview of the film and is excited for it to be released.”

Dr Survé said that Survé Philanthropies has provided support to a number of similar arts projects which have told the stories of struggle icons, including Cold Case: Revisiting Dulcie September, which was showcased at the Baxter Theatre and the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, and Formidabele Vroue, based on the life of the District Six struggle veteran, Cissy Gool.

ENDS
Issued by:
Awande Dlamini
Sekunjalo Investment Holdings
Email: awanded@sekunjalo.com
Mobile: 076 786 4850