Pravin Gordhan. Picture: THE TIMES
Pravin Gordhan. Picture: THE TIMES

Pravin Gordhan was not behind the raid on Sekunjalo Investment Holdings and allegations that he was are an unsubstantiated attack, the public enterprises minister’s lawyer says.

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) raided the Cape Town offices of Iqbal Survé’s company on Wednesday after it was granted a  search-and-seizure order by the high court in Cape Town. It was allowed to conduct the raid under the supervision of an independent attorney.

During the raid Survé suggested to journalists that Gordhan and President Cyril Ramaphosa were behind the raid.

In a video clip carried on the Independent Media website, Survé can be heard telling the FSCA agents that the raid was intended to “get information we [Independent Media] have on Pravin Gordhan and the president and which my reporters are about to publish this weekend”.

Gordhan’s lawyer Tebogo Malatji in response said his client has no oversight over the FSCA and could not possibly have directed its operations and who it inspects.

He said the public knew that Survé and his business entities had been the subject of the commission of inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and that this was an attempt at deflecting attention.

“Distraction and deflections have become a reflexive response by those who are under suspicion of one or other kind of misdemeanours,” Malatji said.

The FSCA’s raid is the latest in a number of high-profile developments involving Ayo Technology Solutions, which was listed in December 2017. In July Survé told journalists it was he who had asked the FSCA regulator to investigate trading in the shares of Ayo and its top shareholder African Equity Empowerment Investments.

The PIC paid R4.3bn for a 29% stake in Ayo, equivalent to R43 a share. On Wednesday Ayo was trading at R5.60, having declined steadily in low-volume trade from a high of R24 in January. The company is now valued at R1.9bn.

The investment by the PIC, which also provided more than R1bn in funding to Sekunjalo when it bought control of Independent Media in 2013, has been put under the spotlight by the Mpati commission of inquiry into the PIC under the leadership of Dan Matjila. Matjila retired from the PIC in late 2018.

Malatji said Gordhan was focused on stabilising state-owned entities which had been damaged by corruption and state capture, and he would not be distracted from that task.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za