THIS WEEK saw ABSA bank withdraw its support for Sekunjalo and Iqbal Survé, citing reputational damage without providing any details. Apparently the bank doesn’t have to supply evidence in court and may boot its clients willy-nilly — on the mere off chance that they represent a risk to shareholder’s profits.
If the attempts by some media critics to paint this as another example of the end of the Gupta years, stemming from the shenanigans at Ayo, seem a little odd given Sekunjalo’s balance sheet, then perhaps it has something to do with the proverbial Iqbal Survé Jack Ma moment. If you remember, Ma fell out of grace with the Chinese Communist Party in November last year, resulting in the cancellation of the Ant Group IPO.
Similarly, Survé’s Sagarmartha IPO failed after the PIC pulled the carpet citing lack of due diligence. If you managed to catch the tail-end of the saga, and last month’s presentation given to a special parliamentary portfolio committee, then you will realise that Survé didn’t take things laying down.
He appears to have spun-off the troublesome Independent Group’s assets into a special interest vehicle, the Independent Consortium, whilst saving both Premier Fishing and Loot.com, two highly cash-generative operations, that form part of his vast empire.
It doesn’t take much digging to find the cause of Absa’s butt-headed reaction, since Survé has been waging a tit-for-tat battle with other media groups, in particular Naspers, itself a mere pawn in a broader financial empire, whose ultimate source of control is the web of intrigue surrounding the Rupert family and Rupert Beleggings.
Since the Rupert’s were instrumental in the creation of Amalgamated Banks of South Africa (Absa), after their well-documented bail-out of the apartheid state and its banking sector during the 80s, which also saw the dynasty benefit from various so-called ‘life-boats’ floated by Chris Stals et al, and are consequently the main sponsors behind the ANC, their erstwhile banking partners might not be all that happy to have Sekunjalo as a client.
Look no further than the history of Volkskas on sahistory.org.za
The move comes as President Ramaphosa was lambasted by the NEC’s Dlamini-Zuma for his apparent proximity to Johann Rupert. Hypocrisy considering the party’s longstanding relationship with its former National Party allies.
In 2018 columnist Azad Essa claimed that the Independent Group cancelled his column immediately after he published a column distributed to a number of Independent Media newspapers critical of China’s mass internment of ethnic Uighurs.
The prospect of Sekunjalo being refused a business license under the current political dispensation in which the ruling party operates as if South Africa is, for all intents and purposes, a one party state, will no doubt come to haunt Survé.
Reports have emerged that Survé initially chose the China National Bank as an alternative to Absa, only to find that keeping ones money in an authoritarian regime, is well, not exactly Swiss banking.