The De-Listing of South Africa Inc

Sekunjalo Chairman Dr Iqbal Survé. Picture: Ian Landsberg / Independent Media

Sekunjalo Chairman Dr Iqbal Survé. Picture: Ian Landsberg / Independent Media

Published Mar 28, 2024


In July 2021, I wrote that we had a leadership crisis. That has not changed, in fact if anything, it has deepened.

In that same article, I referenced the state of our media and its role to play in ensuring that our fractured democracy has the chance to knit and bind through the telling of all sides of South Africa’s multi-layered story.

The media have failed. Just as surely as our leaders.

It is difficult for me as a media owner to come out and state this, but it is true. Our media are at war with one another and the only victims suffering, are the people whose stories we should be telling. This war has now progressed beyond the usual fight for reader and viewer figures. It is a fight for the very soul of our land.

On the one side there are those media who have not evolved beyond the apartheid era, and whose remit is still to uphold the capitalist creed at the expense even of truth, and whose writings are geared to securing a future for those who already own their place in the capital sun.

On the other side are those, who not opposed to capitalism, stand for a more equitable spread of the pie, which involves representing most of the country - the people who do not always have a voice of their own, or who require some amplification of the true nature of what they are experiencing.

When investors look for investments, they do so only when they have been fully informed and when they have done their own due diligence. This is to minimise risk and to optimise return. To do that, they need access to all available information, so they can have all the facts, weigh them, and then make an informed decision.

Should we not run a country in this way?

Gather the information from the people on the ground, assimilate it with a set of assumptions and predictions as to when the ‘investment’ will mature, and work towards realising that?

Critically, people also need to be fully informed of their options in this two-way street. Much like an investor watches the market and is informed of any material happenings that can affect their investment.

At present though, most of the mainstream media are canvassing and not supremely interested in telling the people anything they and their masters don’t want them to know. Thus, any investment of time, energy, or effort or money into the country by its citizens (the investors), is somewhat skewed, based as it is on only part of the story.

If we look at how the country is run, then our leaders would have been publicly censured and fined beyond measure and even jailed for their corporate misdeeds, if we were to apply the same principles of corporate governance and compliance that our businesses must adhere to.

You make up your mind as to how they would fare if they were to be held to account. Here’s an update on my previous article:

The Economy

Our economy has been described as ‘tepid’ at best. With weakened revenues and increasing debt-servicing costs we are in an even worse position than we were in 2021, and that was bad.

In 2023, Treasury predicted that our GDP growth would be a paltry 0.6%, yet in 2024 (the year of the elections), with ongoing load shedding, the destruction of our transport infrastructure and logistics sector, it predicts a 1.6% growth in GDP? The privately-owned South African Reserve Bank (SARB) was less optimistic about the Minister’s budget predictions at 1.2% growth.

Nevertheless, both suggested there would be increased consumer spending that would drive this growth, which is hard to imagine when our unemployment rates continue to be the only thing that sees significant growth.

Given that the world is at risk of a global war and that many of our traditional trading partners are impacted, we should be looking to building those skills on home soils thus building capacity for our South African sustainability. Then, just then, we might be able to turn the tide on our economy.

The Judiciary vs Totalitarianism

In 2021, I wrote of the battle for the continued separation of state and the judiciary and the rise of a totalitarian regime. This battle continues and we simply cannot allow for our judiciary to be controlled by the state. It must remain separate and apply the rule of law as set out in our hard-won ‘Constitutional’ democracy.

Yet, the signs of state influence are everywhere. We only need to mention the Supreme Court of Appeal bench hearing of a racial discrimination matter in which open criticism of the state has played a role, and that was overseen by a bench comprised solely of white judges.

Evidence of George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece, 1984, that reflects “a state that uses physical and psychological control of its citizens through brainwashing and manipulating information and technology”, so that the government of the day could have complete or near total control of its citizens to remain in ‘power’, is everywhere.

Isn’t this where South Africa finds itself today with a political party who must at all costs remain in power?


Of leadership, I noted in 2021, how fractured the ANC was, yet I called for it to find its peace and unite for the sake of all our citizens. Yet here we are in 2024, and the greed and corruption and weakness of the incumbent leadership has seen loyal party members leaving in droves to set up their own parties. What their respective intentions are for the country and its citizens remains for the most part murky, but the point is that we are fast heading into a coalition future, which may not be the best for our country either.

Our combined future hangs on the outcome of the elections in May and with an apathetic and disillusioned populace who would rather not vote, we are in trouble.

Where are our strong, moral leaders who can stand up and take us forward? Where are our leaders who have our, the people’s, best interests at heart first?

If we want to keep South Africa Inc in business, then we need to fire the incumbents, apply the principles of good governance we already have in place, and apply a zero tolerance approach to corruption and deviation from the path of egalitarianism.

We must have a robust and open media who are allowed to show and tell all sides of the story, not for the purposes of keeping one party in power or to stir, but to allow our citizens to make informed decisions about the future they want to live, not what we are being told what to live.

We cannot betray the beliefs and values of freedom and democracy that we fought for.

* Dr Iqbal Survé is the Executive Chairman of the Sekunjalo Group.

** The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of IOL or Independent Media.