Scrutiny needed of growing cloud over Iqbal Survé's head

17 February 2019 - 00:00 By SUNDAY TIMES

Iqbal Survé might not be much good at running businesses but he's very good at making money, and just as talented when it comes to spending it, as our reports today demonstrate.
The Cape Town business person's claims to live a simple life - repeated in an interview this week - are somewhat undermined by the disclosure that he and his family have just spent R140m on seven V&A Waterfront apartments. If Survé is to be believed, this is entirely normal behaviour for a wealthy individual. Just as normal, presumably, as having a R1bn debt to government pensioners written off and taking billions more in a transaction that is being probed at a commission of inquiry.
Survé protests that media scrutiny is based on racism and resentment, but in the face of a growing pile of documentary evidence, and heartening signs of courage among whistleblowers, the time is rapidly approaching when he'll have to deliver much more than bluster in response to criticism.
This week he said he would be willing to testify at the Mpati commission of inquiry into the Public Investment Corp (PIC), where allegations have been made about irregularities in the decision to invest R4.3bn in AYO Technology Services.
Sunday Times reports about AYO in the past two weeks have also caught the eye of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, which said it would be speaking to the PIC about the matter. The JSE is also taking a close look at AYO.
Our reports today reflecting more allegations of corporate governance and financial irregularities at entities controlled by Survé will give watchdogs further food for thought. They should also attract the attention of the trustees of the Government Employees Pension Fund, which last year wrote off R1bn to an ill-fated Survé scheme and is further exposed through the AYO investment.
Anything that damages the pension fund also affects taxpayers, because government pensions are guaranteed regardless of the fund's performance. After the Gupta and Bosasa looting, the last thing the battered psyche of the taxpaying public needs is another blow to the wallet.

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