PRESS RELEASE

Independent Media has instructed its legal team to institute proceedings against Times Media Group (TMG) following their refusal to retract a defamatory article, written by Ann Crotty, which was published in Financial Mail and Business Live on 23 February 2017.

Several untrue and defamatory statements were contained in the article, “Breaking the News, including allegations, innuendo and questions regarding Independent Media’s current financial standing and its ability to repay loans.

A significant portion of the article claims that Independent Media entered into deals with and sold profitable assets to an entity called Africa Media Group to the disadvantage and detriment of its shareholders.  Independent Media has no knowledge of the existence of this entity.

It is clear that the intention of the article was to spread fake news about Independent Media, portray a picture of underhandedness and to create suspicion and discomfort amongst shareholders, readers and advertisers.  The article also suggests that Independent Media has diminished in stature and would enter into deals without there being a sound business rationale.

Independent Media has questioned the integrity and journalistic ethics of the writer and the motive of those publishing entities of Times Media Group which published the article.

Since the acquisition of Independent Media in 2013, Sekunjalo Group has invested in excess of R200m in technological and digital advancements as well as skills training and development for journalists as part of its strategy to migrate the Independent Media brand from a largely print media to a multi-platform media group. This investment came with the full approval and support of the existing shareholders who will benefit from the increased value created as a result of Sekunjalo’s additional financial injection into Independent Media since the acquisition.

Commenting on the matter, Chief of Staff of Independent Media, Zenariah Barends said: “I have been at Independent since February 2014.  Prior to me joining the company and since, there has been a barrage of attacks against us, including personal attacks on Dr Survé, by the same groups and individuals. I have to wonder at the reasons for the consistent negative reporting about our company these past three years. It is certainly not normal. I would like to put it down to a case of sour grapes, as a number of our detractors were former employees at Independent Media.  But the frequency and volume of negativity and malice, suggests something more sinister.”

She added that the company will be instituting the necessary steps to sue the parties mentioned.  “We want to get on with our business and build a media house where South Africans who are interested in developing our democracy know they have a trusted source of information.”

 

ENDS

Published, 15 March 2017 by Adri Senekal de Wet, Business Report. 

Independent Media has instructed its legal team to institute proceedings against Times Media Group (TMG) following its refusal to retract a defamatory article, written by Ann Crotty, which was published in the Financial Mail and Business Live on February 23.

Several untrue and defamatory statements were contained in the article, “Breaking the News”, including allegations, innuendo and questions regarding Independent Media’s current financial standing and its ability to repay loans.

Independent Media has instructed its legal team to institute proceedings against Times Media Group. File photo: Leon Nicholas.

A significant portion of the article claims that Independent Media entered into deals with and sold profitable assets to an entity called Africa Media Group to the detriment of its shareholders.

Independent Media has no knowledge of the existence of this entity. It is clear that the intention of the article was to spread fake news about Independent Media, portray a picture of underhandedness and to create suspicion and discomfort among shareholders, readers and advertisers.

The article also suggests that Independent Media has diminished in stature and would enter into deals without there being a sound business rationale

Independent Media has questioned the integrity and journalistic ethics of the writer and the motive of those publishing entities of TMG, which published the article.

Since the acquisition of Independent Media in 2013, Sekunjalo Group has invested in excess of R200 million in technological and digital advancements as well as skills training and development for journalists as part of its strategy to migrate the Independent Media brand from a largely print media to a multi-platform media group. This investment came with the full approval and support of the existing shareholders who will benefit from the increased value created as a result of Sekunjalo’s additional financial injection into Independent Media since the acquisition.

Commenting on the matter, Chief of Staff of Independent Media, Zenariah Barends said: “I have been at Independent since February 2014. Prior to me joining the company and since, there has been a barrage of attacks against us, including personal attacks on Dr (Iqbal) Survé, by the same groups and individuals. I have to wonder at the reasons for the consistent negative reporting about our company these past three years.

“It is certainly not normal. I would like to put it down to a case of sour grapes, as a number of our detractors were former employees at Independent Media. But the frequency and volume of negativity and malice, suggests something more sinister.”

She said the company would institute the necessary steps to sue the parties mentioned. “We want to get on with our business and build a media house where South Africans who are interested in developing our democracy know they have a trusted source of information.”

ANA, the news agency, last week said it planned to sue TMG for R500m.

Read full article here.

Published, 14 March 2017 by Staff Reporter , Cape Times. 

The Sekunjalo Group congratulated Independent Media on its nomination as a finalist in three categories at this year’s International News Media Association’s (INMA) Global Media awards – Best Launch of a Brand or Product to Create an Audience Segment in the local/regional category; Best Public Relations or Community Service Campaign; and Best Use of Video in the global/national category.

The awards take place at the conclusion of the 87th annual INMA conference in New York in May.

Since Sekunjalo’s acquisition of Independent Media in 2013, Independent Media has been the only African media company to be nominated for INMA’s Global Media awards for three consecutive years.

The awards received 655 entries from 196 media companies in 36 countries.

Participants include newspaper media, magazine media, digital media, television media and radio media.

Before the acquisition of Independent Media by the Sekunjalo-led consortium in 2013, the company lacked significant infrastructure to compete in the rapidly evolving media environment. Over the past two years, Sekunjalo invested significantly in technology, innovation and skills training and development, integral to the redesign of the company. “These nominations and the ongoing recognition by the international media community are direct consequences of the significant investment that Sekunjalo has made in Independent Media over the past two years”, said Dr Survé.

Independent Media’s Home Property magazine in KwaZulu-Natal was nominated in the category Best Launch of a Brand or Product to create an Audience Segment in the local/regional category.

“This nomination is particularly significant because it emphasises the success of our commercial strategy in KwaZulu-Natal. Amid considerable investment by our competitors to undermine our home and property leadership in the region, we have emerged successful with this great new value-added product for both our clients and readers,” said Dr Survé.

Independent Media’s national campaign to highlight awareness about racism, Racism Stops With Me, was nominated in the category Best Public Relations or Community Service Campaign in the Global/National category.

This campaign was launched in January last year when Dr Survé, as the executive chairman of Independent Media, recognised the need for the media to play a constructive role in highlighting South Africa’s most pressing issues and allowing for healthy debate across all sectors. He called on all stakeholders – readers, commercial partners, advertisers, investors, staff and society in general – to work together to confront the reality of racism. International media houses have expressed keen interest in collaborating with Independent Media on similar campaigns, acknowledging that racism is an international concern.

The national #DontLookAway campaign, which ran during the 16 days of Activism in Support of No Violence Against Women and Children, was nominated in the category Best Use of Video in the global/national category.

This campaign formed part of Independent Media’s Social Change programme to mobilise readers and advertisers to become aware of the scourge of violence against women and children.

“We are unashamedly non-racist, non-sexist and purpose-driven. By publicising the horrific statistics related to women and child abuse, we are playing our part in drawing attention to gender violence in our country,” added Dr Survé.

Competition entries were judged in February by an international panel of 44 executives from 17 countries.

INMA has run an annual competition rewarding excellence in media since 1937. This year’s Global Media awards focused on six activities crucial to success:

* Energising brands.

* Creating new products.

* Growing, engaging and monetising audiences.

* Growing advertising revenue.

* Developing customer insights.

* Instilling innovation.

Read full article here.

Media Release

The Sekunjalo Group congratulated Independent Media on its nomination as a finalist in three categories at this year’s International News Media Association’s (INMA) Global Media Awards.  The Awards take place at the conclusion of the 87th annual INMA conference in New York in May.

Since Sekunjalo’s acquisition of Independent Media in 2013, Independent Media has been the only African media company to be nominated for INMA’s Global Media Awards for three consecutive years. The INMA Global Media Awards competition this year received 655 entries from 196 media companies in 36 countries. Participants include newspaper media, magazine media, digital media, television media, and radio media.

Prior to the acquisition of Independent Media by the Sekunjalo-led consortium in 2013, the company lacked significant infrastructure in order to compete in the rapidly evolving media environment.  Over the past two years, Sekunjalo invested significantly in technology, innovation and skills training and development, integral to the redesign of the company.

“These nominations and the ongoing recognition by the international media community are direct consequences of the significant investment that Sekunjalo has made in Independent Media over the past two years”, said Dr Survé.

Independent Media was nominated as a finalist in three key categories.

Independent Media’s HOME Property magazine in Kwa-Zulu Natal, was nominated in the category Best Launch of a Brand or Product to Create an Audience Segment in the Local/Regional category.

“This nomination is particularly significant because it emphasises the success of our commercial strategy in Kwa-Zulu Natal.  Amidst considerable investment by our competitors to undermine our home and property leadership in the region, we have emerged successful with this great new value-added product for both our clients and readers”, said Dr Survé.

Independent Media’s national campaign to highlight awareness about racism, Racism Stops With Me, was nominated in the category Best Public Relations or Community Service Campaign in the Global/National category.

 

This campaign was launched in January 2016 when Dr Survé, as Executive Chairman of Independent Media, recognised the need for the media to play a constructive role in highlighting South Africa’s most pressing and burning issues and allowing for healthy debate across all sectors.  He called on all Independent Media stakeholders – readers, commercial partners, advertisers, investors, staff, and society in general – to work together to confront the reality of racism in our society. International media houses have expressed keen interest in collaborating with Independent Media on similar campaigns, acknowledging that racism is an international concern.

The #DontLookAway campaign, a national campaign which ran during the 16 days of activism in support of no violence against women and children was nominated in the category Best Use of Video in the Global/National category.  This campaign formed part of Independent Media’s Media for Social Change programme to mobilise readers and advertisers to become aware of the scourge of violence against women and children.

“We are unashamedly non-racist, non-sexist and purpose-driven.  By publicising the horrific statistics related to women and child abuse we are playing our part in drawing attention to gender violence in our country”, said Dr Survé.

Competition entries were judged in February by an international panel of 44 executives from 17 countries. Judges represented a wide range of media-related companies.

INMA has run an annual competition rewarding excellence in media since 1937. This year’s Global Media Awards competition focused on six activities crucial to success:

  • Energising brands.
  • Creating new products.
  • Growing, engaging, and monetising audiences.
  • Growing advertising revenue.
  • Developing customer insights.
  • Instilling innovation.

 

Press Release

On instructions of African News Agency (ANA), our attorneys, Webber Wentzel, sent letters of demand  to Times Media Group, Ann Crotty, Ray Hartley, Business Day and Business Live on  8th of March 2017 demanding that they retract defamatory statements made about ANA in an article, “Breaking the News” published on 23 February 2017. They were given three days to retract the defamatory article but have instead released a further statement repeating the original defamatory article.

Ann Crotty and Times Media Group’s Financial Mail have in their most recent statement  misinformed the public by stating that they had contacted ANA. We wish to make it clear that at no stage has any reporter from Financial Mail, Business Day or Business Live contacted ANA, its Chief Executive or President regarding the claims made in their article. Furthermore, no other ANA staff member was contacted by the Financial Mail or Ann Crotty regarding the claims published in their original  article. In this regard Ann Crotty, the Financial Mail and Business Live chose to ignore ethical journalistic practice by neglecting to verify the validity of any of their claims.

ANA is a global content syndication service provider with video, text and pictures using world class technology which has attracted international investors both for its content syndication service and its soon-to-be-launched social media platforms. These investors are partners and committed to ANA’s growth strategy within South Africa and the rest of the world. ANA further plans to extend its footprint into various other locations including Boston, New York, San Francisco, London, Paris and Mumbai.

The defamatory article published by Ann Crotty and the Financial Mail has resulted in significant reputational damage to ANA, its international investors and partners, including its 40-plus media partners globally. Should Ann Crotty, the Financial Mail, Business Live, Business Day or any other reporter of Times Media Group have contacted ANA, we would gladly have provided them with the correct information.

ANA has set aside a substantial sum to litigate against Times Media Group and Tiso Blackstar, to claim an amount of R500 million in damages suffered.

To date, ANA has raised more than R2 billion in the global capital market from our investors and has their full backing to pursue a full damages claim against Ann Crotty, Times Media Group, its publications and other executives for these defamatory statements. ANA also plans to hold Tiso Blackstar, listed on the AIM of the London Stock Exchange, to account for these defamatory statements. ANA strongly believes its claims will be successful against Times Media Group, its publications, Ann Crotty and others for the publication of numerous false defamatory statements.

Through the article published by Times Media Group and its publications, Ann Crotty has dragged ANA into the alleged ongoing smear campaign by several journalists, including former journalists of Independent Media against Independent Media, Sekunjalo and Dr Survé. Recent statistics and industry research show that Times Media Group is facing financial challenges and have lost significant market share to their rivals including Independent Media, Media24 and CTP. More importantly, their rivals, continue to outperform them in terms of circulation and technology innovation.

ANA is reluctant, but feels compelled to take legal action against Times Media Group in the South African and UK courts and, after having carefully considered the legal issues ANA is confident that it will be successful in holding them to account for publishing false and defamatory statements.

 

ENDS

________________________________________________________________

Issued by Grant Fredericks

Chief Executive Officer

African News Agency

 

email: grant.fredericks@africannewsagency.com

 

 

Published, 09 March 2017 by ANA Reporter, Business Report. 

Johannesburg – The African News Agency on Thursday said it will take legal action against Times Media Group if the rival company fails to “retract defamatory statements” it made about the news wire.

“On instructions of African News Agency (ANA), our attorneys, Webber Wentzel, sent letters of demand to Times Media Group, Ann Crotty, Ray Hartley, Business Day and Business Live on 8th of March 2017 demanding that they retract defamatory statements made about ANA in an article, ‘Breaking the News’, published on 23 February 2017,” said Grant Fredericks, Chief Executive Officer of ANA.

He said the respondents were given three days to retract the defamatory article, but had instead “released a further statement repeating the original defamatory article”.

Fredericks said Ann Crotty and Times Media Group’s Financial Mail had in their most recent statement misinformed the public by stating that they had contacted ANA.

“We wish to make it clear that at no stage has any reporter from the Financial Mail, Business Day or Business Live contacted ANA, its Chief Executive or President regarding the claims made in their article,” said Fredericks.

“Furthermore, no other ANA staff member was contacted by the Financial Mail or Ann Crotty regarding the claims published in their original article. In this regard, Ann Crotty, the Financial Mail and Business Live chose to ignore ethical journalistic practice by neglecting to verify the validity of any of their claims.”

Fredericks said ANA is a global content syndication service provider with video, text and pictures, using world-class technology which has attracted international investors, both for its content syndication service, and its soon-to-be-launched social media platforms. These investors are partners and committed to ANA’s growth strategy within South Africa and the rest of the world. ANA further plans to extend its footprint into various other locations, including Boston, New York, San Francisco, London, Paris and Mumbai.

“The defamatory article published by Ann Crotty and the Financial Mail has resulted in significant reputational damage to ANA, its international investors and partners, including its 40-plus media partners globally. Should Ann Crotty, the Financial Mail, Business Live, Business Day or any other reporter of Times Media Group have contacted ANA, we would gladly have provided them with the correct information.”

Fredericks said: “ANA has set aside a substantial sum to litigate against Times Media Group and Tiso Blackstar, to claim an amount of R500 million in damages suffered.

“ANA is reluctant, but feels compelled to take legal action against Times Media Group in the South African and UK courts and, after having carefully considered the legal issues, ANA is confident that it will be successful in holding them to account for publishing false and defamatory statements.”

Fredericks further said that through the article, ANA had been dragged into the alleged ongoing smear campaign by journalists, including former journalists of Independent Media, against Independent Media, Sekunjalo and Dr Iqbal Survé.

 

Read full article here.

Published, 08 March 2017 by Adri Senekel De Wet, Business Report at 06h29am.

Cape Town – Dr Iqbal Survé, the executive chairman of the Sekunjalo Group, and technology entrepreneur Marcel Boekhoorn, owner of Ramphastos Investments, on Tuesday announced a joint investment in a South African gold reclamation project.

The investment will see significant amounts of gold being reclaimed from mining dumps using state-of-the-art technology, resulting in job creation and foreign currency earnings for the South African economy.

Boekhoorn’s holding in Ramphastos Investments comprises a wide array of business interests ranging from cutting edge technology, including voice; biometrics; digital antennas; decompostable coffee cups and aviation glass to private equity and real estate.

His most prized real estate asset is the hi-tech Campus Eindhoven, often dubbed the most intelligent square mile in the Netherlands.

Boekhoorn has a long track record of exceptional returns, making him one of the wealthiest people in the Netherlands.

“Partnering with Dr Iqbal Survé, a well-respected and highly reputable industrialist, enables us to bring novel technology to the country, while capitalising on Dr Survé’s knowledge and network,” said Boekhoorn.

Survé, a billionaire philanthropist, has invested in several technology companies. He is also the executive chairman of Independent Media

Survé said he expected to report more joint investments with Boekhoorn in the months to come. Both entrepreneurs are committed towards a long-term partnership with joint teams already vetting follow-on transactions.

Survé said Boekhoorn’s focus on sustainable, impact projects was aligned with some of the objectives of the Sekunjalo Impact Fund, which was launched on February 9.

Two key areas of the Impact Fund are sustainability as well as technologies.

SOUTH AFRICAN AND DUTCH BILLIONAIRES START AFRICAN INVESTMENT ALLIANCE 

Dutch entrepreneur Marcel Boekhoorn and South African investor-philanthropist Dr Iqbal Survé today announced a joint investment in a South African gold reclamation project. The investment will see significant amounts of gold being reclaimed from mining dumps using state of the art technology, resulting in both the creation of jobs and foreign currency earnings for the South African economy.

 

Mr Boekhoorn is one of Europe’s most successful investors with a long track record of exceptional returns, making him one of the wealthiest persons in the Netherlands.

 

Mr Boekhoorn’s holding company, Ramphastos Investments, comprises a wide array of business interests ranging from cutting edge technology (voice biometrics, digital antenna’s, de-compostable coffee cups, aviation glass) to private equity and real estate. His most prized real estate asset is the High Tech Campus Eindhoven, often dubbed the most intelligent square mile in the Netherlands.

 

“Partnering with Dr Iqbal Survé, a well-respected and highly reputable industrialist enables us to bring novel technology to the country while capitalizing on Dr Survé’s knowledge and network”, said Mr Boekhoorn.

 

Dr Iqbal Survé is a South African billionaire philanthropist and technology investor, Executive Chairman of Sekunjalo Group and Executive Chairman of Independent Media.

 

Dr Survé emphasized that he expects to report more joint investments with Mr Boekhoorn in the months to come. He concluded that Mr Boekhoorn’s focus on sustainable, impact projects is aligned with some of the objectives of the R500m Sekunjalo Impact Fund, which was launched on 9 February 2017. Two key areas of the Impact Fund are sustainability as well as technologies.

 

Unique about the gold project announced today is the fact that the two businessmen invested without ever having seen each other, both merely relying on on the ground staff’s recommendations. Both entrepreneurs are committed towards a long-term partnership with joint teams already vetting follow-on transactions.

 

ENDS

 

For further information, please contact:

– Corné Melissen [E: corne@ramphastos.com / T: +31 6 13 809 407]

– Lavendra Naidoo [E: info@sekunjalo.com / T: +27 21 671 7058]

Published, 02 March 2017 by Quinton Mtyala, Cape Times at 10h59pm.

Almost 18 years after Premier Food and Fishing was taken over by the Sekunjalo Group, the company marked a milestone when it listed on the main bourse of the JSE yesterday morning.

At a function where the listing was witnessed via live streaming at the Mount Nelson Hotel, former company spokesperson and now executive editor for Independent Media’s business titles Adri Senekal said Premier was truly a broad-based black empowerment business.

Independent Media’s chief of staff Zenariah Barends, who had also worked at Premier, said she was emotional considering how far the company had progressed.

Sekunjalo Group and Independent Media executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé said the listing was “a big occasion. To list a company on the main board (of the JSE), is not easy”.

He credited Premier Food and Fishing’s staff for their dedication, saying other fishing companies had experienced disasters due to negligence.

Survé said the safety of crew manning its boats was their first priority, and it is for this reason that Premier Food and Fishing had not suffered a disasters since 1999.

“We’ve told the crews that they should not go out when the seas are rough,” he said, adding that the work of those on the trawlers was tough, and often crews would be at sea for up to a month.

Survé said one of the first things he did when Sekunjalo took control of Premier was to stop the practice of overfishing which had become an industry standard. “We had to respect the laws of the country.

Instead, the company focused on aqua-culture, and Survé said this now made up a significant chunk of revenue.

Survé said he was also proud that under his stewardship, Premier Food and Fishing had become an ethical company, while its competitors had lied about their empowerment credentials. “We could have been a bigger company (had we been unethical),” said Survé.

Sekunjalo was likely to list more of its more than 200 subsidiaries within the next two years.

Survé said Sekunjalo did not owe have any long-term borrowing with banks, and what it did borrow was for short-term cash flow.

“We’ve not taken out any dividend. I still stay in the same house I’ve been living in for the past two decades,” he said.

Read the full article here.

Published, 02 March 2017 by , Business Report Online at 11h01am.

Premier Food and Fishing has become the first company to list on the JSE this year, making its debut under the share code PFF.

The company listed on the Farming, Fishing and Plantations sector of the JSE’s Main Board.

Premier Food and Fishing owns one of the country’s largest black-owned fishing companies, Premier Fishing SA, which has a 65 year track record.

The company, a subsidiary of African Empowerment Equity Investments (AEEI) says its much anticipated listing on the local bourse has been oversubscribed.

The company last week said a private placement ahead of its initial public offering (IPO) was oversubscribed four times, following a successful two-week road show in anticipation of resuming trading on the JSE next week.

The company, in existence since 1952, was previously called Sekunjalo Industrial Holdings. It was to privately 117 million shares.

It is listing to gain access to capital to grow its business organically and through future acquisitions. It also wants to give employees and members of communities in which it operates, as well as the general public an opportunity to acquire an equity stake.

Donna Nemer, director of Capital Markets at the JSE, says the exchange is pleased to welcome Premier Food and Fishing.

Read also: Premier Foods oversubscribed

Premier Food and Fishing joins six companies that are listed in the Farming, Fishing and Plantations sector of the JSE, which currently has a market capitalisation of R38.29 billion.

CEO Samier Saban, Premier Food CEO, says “listing will provide the company with access to capital in order to grow the business both organically and by way of future acquisitions. Being listed on the JSE will further allow us to give both our employees, as well as the members of the communities in which we operate and also the general public, an opportunity to acquire equity in the company and thereby a liquid, tradeable asset within a regulated environment.”

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE