Iqbal Survé's PIC evidence marked by poor memory and race

From fixation with race to poor recollection of events that involved his interactions with PIC officials, businessperson Iqbal Survé’s submission before the inquiry into the affairs of the state-owned asset manager was an emotionally charged affair.

Survé spoke about the skewed racial makeup of the economy, criticising the PIC for "reluctance to promote and invest in black companies on the JSE" which he said required re-evaluation. 

"Real economic wealth still vests in white-controlled and dominated companies," he said.

Several entities linked to Survé have benefitted from PIC funding, with executives who have testified before the commission speaking of pressure from former PIC CEO Dan Matjila to push through some of the deals involving  companies, such as AYO Technology Solutions.

The AYO R4.3bn deal, which according to evidence heard so far, was concluded without following due process, has dominated the inquiry, with one PIC executive suggesting that there was an existing relationship between Survé and Matjila.

During cross examination by Advocate Jannie Lubbe, Survé did not deny or confirm the relationship, saying he does not have a "social friendship" with Matjila outside the professional context.

"It is in the context of being chairman, not as a social friend," he said. Survé added that he did not have networks in the white community.

Survé was also asked if he recalled hosting the PIC head of listed investments Fidelis Madavo, at an awards ceremony in Cape Town. 

Lubbe put it to him that Madavo was seated at the same table as him, however, Survé said he did not recall being at the same table as Madavo.

This was not the only time that Survé’s memory failed him, he also mentioned that he did not recall being in a meeting with AYO which included PIC executives.

"I do not recall participating in any AYO dealings," he said.

Not slave to white lenders

At some point, things got heated during the proceedings, as Survé kept on making references to white businesses as he gave evidence, and said he was not enslaved to any white lenders.

"You keep on referring to white business all the time and I am finding it offensive," said assistant commissioner Gill Marcus.

"This is a commission of inquiry not a political platform," she added. Surve retaliated that he was "non-racist" and had nothing against anybody.

Survé will continue his cross examination on Wednesday. 

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