The full extent of the destruction at Independent Media since the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) placed the company at the disposal of Iqbal Survé has been laid bare — ironically through Survé’s outrageous attempt to use other people’s money to plug the R2.3bn hole in his media balance sheet. On March 28, a company 73% owned by Survé’s family trust issued a remarkable "prelisting statement" inviting selected investors to subscribe for a "private placement" of shares ahead of a planned JSE listing. The company is Sagarmatha Technologies, a grandiose reference to the Nepali name for Mount Everest, and the statement represents a desperate bid to portray it as a hi-tech start-up in the mould of an African Google or Amazon. It looks like a desperate attempt to save Independent, which will be incorporated into Sagarmatha if the private placement attracts enough money. Survé is seeking to raise a minimum of R3bn via this private placement despite the fact that the company he is sellin...

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