A personal invitation to Sam Sole to confront the truth

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CAPE TOWN – SAfm should be applauded for allowing Independent Media chairman Dr Iqbal Survé an opportunity to speak out regarding the underlying values of the various companies he has invested in. One of these is AYO Technology Solutions.

Dr Survé has constantly been under attack by particularly amaBhungane and the indebted Tiso Blackstar Group, the owners of Sunday Times and Business Day. SAfm picked up on these unfounded and unfair attacks this week and called on Dr Survé to get his views.

Dr Survé challenged Sam Sole from amaBhungane to publicly state his involvement in apartheid journalism as a young reporter. He did that, with a “long and short answer”. To summarise, he was making all sorts of excuses for being a trooper in the army, and during, or after, that he wrote some articles that I think he is ashamed of.

What is important here is that we, as South Africans, can today enjoy the freedom of speech utilising various platforms, such as newspapers, radio and social media, among others. What is more important is that when you are constantly under attack, your reputation is at stake.

It takes one article to create a very good or very bad perception about you or your company. If bad, you need to correct it, if you are on the right side of the matter. The reality is that Dr Survé has been portrayed in a negative manner since he announced that Independent would be listed on the JSE.

As editor, I received many messages, emails and voice notes, mostly supportive of the vision of the Sekunjalo Group, owners of Independent Media. I was often attacked, and most definitely will be again, by the “Sams” of the world after printing this Editor’s Note.

Sam Sole, I’ve been told that you are being paid to write positive stories about certain companies. I hereby challenge you to tell the public whether it is true or not while employed by amaBhungane.

Did you declare that to your employer, Sam? Or are you above the law, with the power of the pen to continue with your racist attacks, as you’ve done so many times? I can declare that I’ve never been paid to publish any article. Again, can you?

I applaud SAfm for following up on Dr Survé’s request to challenge Sam to declare his intent in an interview yesterday. When Sam started stuttering, one could tell he was lying. A journalist from Independent Media contacted him telephonically last year and he said: “I am driving and cannot talk now.” We as reporters and editors always allow all parties a right of reply. This is what Independent Media is about.

Sole doesn’t do that – he chooses to focus on Dr Survé, not on Jayendra Naidoo, who got R9.3billion from the Public Investment Corporation that is worth zero today, or on many others, especially white-owned companies that received billions from the PIC, that is worth nothing today.

I hereby invite Sam to visit the AYO offices and meet the people, the management teams of the many companies Dr Survé invested in. Take your time to interview the fisherman, the factory workers, the managers and even the tea ladies. Let them tell you how Dr Survé, at challenging times, offered his salary and never retrenched a single worker. Will you, do that, Sam?

Let me know when you’re in Gugulethu, Philippi, Saldanha or Hout Bay. I’ll meet you there and not in your comfortable air-conditioned office. You might find Dr Survé there, if he isn’t attending a global meeting in Germany, the US, India or Saudi Arabia, where he serves on the boards of global companies.

Adri Senekal de Wet is the executive editor of Business Report. 

This article first appeared on BUSINESS REPORT