Thuma Mina group must be held accountable for its media bot strategy

By Dennis George

The INVESTMENT of the Public Investment Company (PIC) in the Independent Media Consortium was discussed during the meeting of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance attended by Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo, the Director PIC General Abel Sithole, President of Sekunjalo, Dr Iqbal Survé and AYO President of Technology Solutions Dr Wallace Mgoqi.

Since the meeting, social media actor @goolamammy accused Survé, who is the executive chairman of Independent Media, of the following:

“Rupture: After plundering 4 billion rand at PIC, it was confirmed that Sactwu (Southern African Garment and Textile Workers Union) is taking legal action against the controversial Iqbal Survé company to recover 150 million rand she loaned him in 2012. They want the money paid back with interest.

“Basically the shameful businessman stole the money from an honest, hardworking black worker. Sactwu is not WMC (White Monopoly Capital), it is the money of everyday, hard and honest black workers. Shame on Iqbal Survé. #PICLooterIqbalSurve »

Highlight the investment of Sactwu Investments in the Independent Media Consortium, the vast consortium of labor unions, black economic empowerment groups, women’s groups, NGOs, etc. to acquire Independent Media was a deliberate attack orchestrated by a number of social media accounts, led by Goolam. V.

Goolam V has been shown to be part of a coordinated social media bot strategy to discredit Sekunjalo, and is linked to the Thuma Mina media group. In order to deflect the factual presentation to Parliament by the independent media, Sekunjalo and AYO, Goolam V launched a defamatory attack on Survé and Sekunjalo using Sactwu’s investment in the Independent Media Consortium as a pretext for this deviation.

The real intention of this could be seen when a call was made at the same time to close the bank accounts of companies in the Sekunjalo group, even those of Standard Bank.

Goolam V claimed that Sekunjalo and Independent Media took Sactwu’s money for themselves and that Sactwu did not benefit from its investment in the Independent Media Consortium. This is clearly wrong, as Sactwu’s investment in the consortium was in fact used to repay the R150m PIC.

Several workers and unions have asked me to research and demystify the investment made by Sactwu and the terms and conditions that motivated the union investment company to partner with Independent Media.

Unions and workers who contacted me for help argued that they trusted me and that I was instrumental in resolving complex financial transactions, such as when the union sued Investec for R 4 billion and that Nedlac companies refused to discuss workers’ demands. for an additional holiday when Good Friday and Human Rights Day fell on the same day.

In the Investec dispute, the unions had already introduced a R20million judicial bill, while the bank was not ready to reach an out-of-court settlement to return those funds to the pension funds. As General Secretary of the Federation of Trade Unions of South Africa at the time, I succeeded in forcing Investec to settle down with the unions. I am required by the Settlement Agreement with Investec not to disclose the amount.

After the publication of the holidays in the Official Gazette, former Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe wrote to me thanking me for bringing the workers’ concerns directly to them.

In 2013, Sactwu, through Sactwu Investments, advanced R1 150 million to the Sekunjalo Independent Media Consortium (SIM). For this investment, Sactwu Investments received an additional 8% stake in the SIM consortium free of charge.

The purpose of this agreement was to establish a long-term partnership to promote Sactwu and its members, and to strengthen the voice of all workers, through a monthly supplement entitled “The World of Work”, produced by Independent Media.

Over R100 million has been invested in printing, distribution and editorial costs over two years. In addition to supporting Sactwu and its members, an annual fashion show was launched to showcase clothing from local businesses, in partnership with the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

Massive media coverage was generated to support local economic development in the form of clothing manufacturing and decent job creation. “The World of Work” ensured that various trade union leaders and Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel gave their views on developments in the labor market and the economy affecting workers, in particular the fact that the share of labor compensation in national income had declined in South Africa. Recently, the government, as an employer, unilaterally decided not to respect the wage agreement with public sector unions.

Another concern of workers and unions was the weakening of workers’ bargaining power, technological change, globalization, financial markets and banks, product and labor market institutions, and unemployment. Without a voice, workers and unions cannot articulate and amplify their vision and solutions to tackle poverty, unemployment and inequality in the mainstream media, which is biased in favor of big business, globalization and social media. market forces.

When Sactwu Investments decided to exit the SIM consortium agreement, the parties agreed to enter into an exchange agreement with Sagarmatha, whereby they received shares of Sagarmatha in exchange for their investment in SIM. In addition, Sactwu Investments also received stock options from AYO, as well as other black unions and organizations, which were published in the JSE pre-listing statements.

Courts are not the appropriate institutions to resolve disputes of this nature, and it would be wise to use alternative dispute resolution options, such as mediation and conciliation, as lawyers and attorneys enjoy complex cases like these because legal fees can run into the millions. rands without achieving a favorable result.

In conclusion, I would recommend that Survé take legal action against @goolamammy for defamation of character for the damage that has been done to his dignity and integrity.

Dr Dennis George is the Executive Chairman of African Quartz. He writes in a personal capacity.

* The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL or the title sites

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