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Get it right … PIC’s investment in AYO carries value – Survé

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Sekunjalo chairperson Dr Iqbal Survé. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN – The chairperson of the Sekunjalo Group, Dr Iqbal Survé, on Sunday slammed the Sunday Times and two former executives for what he described as sensationalist reporting and spreading of false information. 

According to the Sunday Times article under the headline “Survé’s R4.3bn PIC piggy bank” the former executives Kevin Hardy and Siphiwe Nodwele were very aggrieved that they had to report to AYO Technology chief investment officer Abdul Malick Salie.

In an interview, Survé explained that Salie represented a transaction advisor to the AYO investment committee. Hardy and Nodwele recklessly wanted to place almost R3.2 billion of the capital raised in about four transactions. 

“They were prepared to overpay, they did not wish to have warranties and there are strong suspicions that they may have benefited from such transactions.

“It is clear that they were either inexperienced in transactions or had ulterior motives for trying to push some of these transactions through against the advice of the AYO board and investment committee,” he said.

What led to the resignation?

When the AYO board was reconstituted at the insistence of the PIC to reduce the influence of AEEI and Sekunjalo, the new chairperson of the board Dr Wallace Mgoqi insisted that the two executives sign a conflict of interest policy statement and indicated that due to their forcibly trying to get AYO to acquire overvalued companies that they should be subject themselves to a forensic inquiry in particular for one company.

Sources close to the matter claimed that Hardy and Nodwele were trying to get 9 percent of the shares in a transaction that AYO was completing. This has not been verified but a forensic investigation would have clarified this position. 

After the AYO chairperson indicated that this would be done, Hardy and Nodwele resigned and did not wish to subject themselves to a forensic investigation.

Subsequent to this Hardy and Nodwele allegedly tried to extort from the company a generous settlement well in excess of their remuneration package, according to Survé.

Both Hardy and Nodwele received no money from AYO and hence this attempt to try and shake down the company for a settlement. 

Survé said the AYO board is now confident that its current management team is well placed to execute this competent executive strategy. Far from the Sunday Times slamming AYO it should be applauded for taking due regard for investors money, in particular, public money from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).

Survé said: “AYO is proud of the fact that today just more than a year after its listing has more cash on hand than what was raised at the listing and this point seems to be deliberately ignored.

“The Sunday Times article refers to the AYO share price of 15c. This is dishonest and financially irresponsible reporting.” 

He said ICT companies including those listed on the JSE were valued according to earnings historic and forward. “They are never valued on net asset value (NAV). NAV is an investment criterion that is used for companies such as property companies and other hard-asset companies.” 

Survé explained that contrary to media reports AYO had been significantly profitable year on year and showed high growth in profitability over the last five years. 

“AYO does not have debt. AYO currently has cash reserves of R4.5 billion. Its businesses continue to generate cash and it has lined up significant acquisitions in order to fulfil its strategic plan and utilise the cash raised for acquisitions to transform the ICT landscape in South Africa in favour of black companies and ICT professionals,” said Sruvé.

Much ado about nothing

A lot has been written in the Sunday Times about the investment of AYO funds in 3Laws Capital and other asset management companies. “This is nothing unusual,” said Survé.

He said all significant corporates in South Africa had a central treasury function aimed at ensuring that cash on hand was placed with multiple institutions such as banks, asset managers and other financial services institutions. All of these must be registered with the financial services conduct authority (FSCA). They must also not have any risk attached.

Survé said the Sekunjalo group as part of its central treasury function often allocated capital to various asset managers and banking institutions in line with optimising their returns.

“In AYO’s case, the board took a decision to allocate R1.5 billion of its R4.3 billion to banks and other asset management institutions in order optimise returns. These are done on an annual basis. All of the funds belong to AYO and are invested on behalf of AYO in either fixed-income new funds, money market funds or high yield asset management investments,” he said.

“The despicable attempt by the Sunday Times to make it seem these funds have been misappropriated is misleading, defamatory and shows an ignorance of how corporates function in a modern economy,” said Survé.

He said while a lot had been written about AYO and the PIC Commission of Inquiry, not once had anyone pointed out something that AYO had done wrong. 

“AYO presented a sound investment case to the PIC and does not have sight on the PIC’s processes and therefore cannot comment on these processes, however from AYO’s point of view, it has raised the capital and intends to spend the capital as part of its acquisition strategy,”

Survé described this as nothing but corporate terrorism at its best. 

“Ths Sunday Times article refers to the WEF payment. Any corporate has a shared services structure. In Sekunjalo’s case, the shared services structure allows the executives of investee companies to participate in multilateral forums for their benefit. This is particularly important in order to get black executives to participate in a way that helps with upskilling of a country’s competency at management level.

More than 100 executives that are part of the Sekunjalo group have participated in numerous multilateral forums. Each investee company of the group pays a proportionate amount of their participation in these multilateral forums. It is no different for AYO, and to suggest that AYO is responsible for this payment is mischievous, misleading and without fact.

On Independent Media’s software and hardware business forming part of AYO the Sekunjalo group does not apologise to competitor media or explain its strategy in terms of the digital and software businesses. In fact, it is unheard of that it has to explain its strategy to its competitors.

Survé said the attack on AYO and the Sekunjalo group was an attack on transformation in the country, cloaked as pointing out governance issues.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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Maimane on the DA’s complicated relationship with Mkwebane: ‘It’s not your office, it’s you’

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While DA leader Mmusi Maimane is pleased with Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s finding regarding President Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign funding, he still thinks she should go.

Speaking on the sidelines of a safety event in Bonteheuwel, Cape Town, on Monday, Maimane said he was the one who had laid a complaint about Ramaphosa’s campaign funding with the Office of the Public Protector. 

He noted this was after he had first asked the question in Parliament, and Ramaphosa said it was “his son’s contribution”, but then changed his statement. 

ALSO READ: Public Protector finds Ramaphosa ‘deliberately misled’ Parliament over R500 000 Bosasa payment

“Now, the Executive Members’ Ethics Act makes it specific that when there is an allegation of a breach [of the act], that can only be reported to the Public Protector.

“It cannot be reported to any other sphere of the government.”

The DA has made it clear that it does not regard Mkhwebane as a suitable candidate for the position of Public Protector, and Maimane said the Absa-related judgment supported this. 

On Monday, the Constitutional Court upheld a costs order against Mkhwebane alleging she had put forward a “number of falsehoods” over the Absa/Bankorp investigation. Mkhwebane has since denied this.

“I have been very clear from the beginning with the party that we do not support this particular Public Protector and therefore in light of the judgment that was handed down today, I think it strengthens our case to have her removed,” said Maimane.

“But just because I did not vote for her, just because I don’t support her, does not mean the office ceases to exist,” he said. 

“I did not vote for President Ramaphosa in the election, yet, because he’s a president of the republic, he becomes the president of all citizens. His office exists. We have to hold everybody accountable, regardless of who they are.” 

Maimane said he welcomed Ramaphosa’s announcement on Sunday night that he would take Mkhwebane’s report on review, because it is Ramaphosa’s right to do that.

However, the party still wants to get to the bottom of whether or not the president had misled Parliament. 

“The president made a statement and proceeded to change it, can that be allowed?” asked Maimane.

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Turtle Beach Recon 70 Headset Review: Plug In and Go

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When creating the ultimate gaming experience, whether it be on PC or console, the peripherals and accessories are often the finishing touches. But when it comes to these devices, a premium experience often necessitates paying premium prices, which is why good value for money peripherals are always welcome.

To aid in that regard is the Recon 70 gaming headset from Turtle Beach, which at R699 (RRP) sits neatly in between a professional and novice setup.

While its price will certainly pique your interest, does it actually deliver the value for money that Turtle Beach is touting? We took the Recon 70 headsets for a spin to find out.

Simple and Sturdy

The design of the Recon 70 can best be described as utilitarian. The majority of the headset is swathed in black plastic, with hits of electric blue scattered here and there to catch your eye. It also features a diagonal slash on the outside of the ear cups in order to make them stand out a bit.

All in all though, it’s a design that won’t turn many heads, and that’s just fine for me at R699.

What I’m wanting is something that can last a good while. Despite not throwing the headset around after a rage quit, I mean when the CPU was clearly cheating, the headsets feel reassuringly solid despite the plastic heavy design.

Another characteristic of the Recon 70 is the fact that all the moving parts feel rigid, which has its ups and downs.

The downs come in the form of a lack of fluidity when adjusting the size of the headphones on the  sides just above the ear cups. This mechanism does not seem to have a great deal of movement, and only increases or decreases two positions either way, which means it won’t get much larger.

Luckily it’s fairly large as is. I myself have a particularly pronounced noggin and the Recon 70 fit nicely.

The upside of the rigidity meant the headband doesn’t provide too much flex. This results in a snug but comfortable fit, although it may mess up any “unique” stylings you’ve chosen to adorn the top of your head with.

Sticking with comfort the ear cups are generously large, and sit over-the-ear. They also have a good deal of padding and cushion things nicely without leaving any gaps. As such if you’re wanting to wear these for prolonged sessions, there is no fear constant fiddling or moving in order to cope with a lack of comfort.

A bit of everything

Now let’s move onto some of the specifications of the Turtle Beach Recon 70 headset.

Driving the sound here are some respectable 40mm neodymium speakers which yield a frequency of 12Hz to 20kHz. The range of offer here is solid, with it coping nicely with bass and not producing any kind of tinniness during my time with the Recon 70.

If there is one complaint when it comes to sound, it’s the sensitivity of the volume wheel located on the ear cup, as the dial does not travel very far. This means nuances in volume are best handled on the device you’re playing on than the headset itself, which is a pity.

Sticking with some of the issues I encountered the 3.5mm cord, fixed to the headset, felt a tad shorter than expected. The fact that they are fixed to the headset also means you cannot switch out with a longer option, and will need to find some sort of extender if needed. This is less of an issue for PC gamers who will more than likely be close to their setup, but may prove an obstacle for console gamers playing in a living room for example.

That said, it’s not a deal breaker, but something to consider.

Said 3.5mm headphone is compatible for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, and did not provide any weird feedback or anomalies while connected.

One of the other elements worth talking about on the Recon 70 is the omni-directional mic, which swivels up or down depending on whether you’re using it or not. The quality it produces is mixed, with it performing fine in co-op gaming or multiplayers in small groups.

The moment you try to make yourself heard in a larger group of players also trying to get their instructions across and the mic struggles slightly, getting the odd “please repeat” or “what was that?” Again I’m splitting hairs here, and for the price of the Recon 70 the audio experience is certainly above par.

Final Verdict

I’ve harped on about the price of the Recon 70 for some time now, and for good reason. Value for money is hard to come by when it comes to good quality headsets, and at R699 this pair provides enough all-round solid use to provide peace of mind that it’s money well spent. It also means you can spend your hard-earned cash on other elements of your gaming setup.

For cost-savvy gamers who want a headset that handles the basics well, the Turtle Beach Recon 70 is definitely worth a second look.

When creating the ultimate gaming experience, whether it be on PC or console, the peripherals and accessories are often the finishing touches. But when it comes to these devices, a premium experience often necessitates paying premium prices, which is why good value for money peripherals are always welcome. To aid in that regard is the Recon 70 gaming headset from Turtle Beach, which at R699 (RRP) sits neatly in between a professional and novice setup. While its price will certainly pique your interest, does it actually deliver the value for money that Turtle Beach is touting? We took the Recon 70 headsets for a spin to find out. Simple and Sturdy The design of the Recon 70 can best be described as utilitarian. The majority of the headset is swathed in black plastic, with hits of electric blue scattered here and there to catch your eye. It also features a diagonal slash on the outside of the ear cups in order to make them stand out a bit. All in all though, it’s a design that won’t turn many heads, and that’s just fine for me at R699. What I’m wanting is something that can last a good while. Despite not throwing the headset around after a rage quit, I mean when the CPU was clearly cheating, the headsets feel reassuringly solid despite the plastic heavy design. Another characteristic of the Recon 70 is the fact that all the moving parts feel rigid, which has its ups and downs. The downs come in the form of a lack of fluidity when adjusting the size of the headphones on the  sides just above the ear cups. This mechanism does not seem to have a great deal of movement, and only increases or decreases two positions either way, which means it won’t get much larger. Luckily it’s fairly large as is. I myself have a particularly pronounced noggin and the Recon 70 fit nicely. The upside of the rigidity meant the headband doesn’t provide too much flex. This results in a snug but comfortable fit, although it may mess up any “unique” stylings you’ve chosen to adorn the top of your head with. Sticking with comfort the ear cups are generously large, and sit over-the-ear. They also have a good deal of padding and cushion things nicely without leaving any gaps. As such if you’re wanting to wear these for prolonged sessions, there is no fear constant fiddling or moving in order to cope with a lack of comfort. A bit of everything Now let’s move onto some of the specifications of the Turtle Beach Recon 70 headset. Driving the sound here are some respectable 40mm neodymium speakers which yield a frequency of 12Hz to 20kHz. The range of offer here is solid, with it coping nicely with bass and not producing any kind of tinniness during my time with the Recon 70. If there is one complaint when it comes to sound, it’s the sensitivity of the volume wheel located on…

Turtle Beach Recon 70 Headset Review: Plug In and Go

Turtle Beach Recon 70 Headset Review: Plug In and Go

2019-07-22

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Combined Score – 7

7

Solid Sounds

Value for money is hard to come by when it comes to good quality headsets, and at R699 this pair provides enough all-round solid use to provide peace of mind that it’s money well spent. It also means you can spend your hard-earned cash on other elements of your gaming setup.

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Newborn’s gut ‘microbiome’ could give clues to weight later

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A newborn’s first stool holds telltale clues about his risk for becoming an overweight 3-year-old, according to a European study.

The clues come from the population of bacteria (microbiome) in the baby’s gut.

Finnish researchers used genetic sequencing to analyse the first stool produced by 212 newborns and another sample at age 1. Called meconium, a baby’s first stool is composed of material ingested while in the womb.

The children’s weight and height were checked at regular visits, and their antibiotic use recorded.

Analysing the bacteria

Researchers found that the greater the abundance of Staphylococcus bacteria in an infant’s first stool, the shorter the child was at 1 and 2 years of age.

Kids who were overweight by age 3 had much more (29% versus 15%) Bacteroidetes in their infant microbiome than those who were not overweight, the study found. Bacteroidetes are a large group of bacteria found in many environments, as well as in the guts and skin of many animals.

Newborns who were overweight by age 3 also had less Proteobacteria (19% versus 35%), according to the team led by researcher Katja Korpela from the University of Oulu.

The study was presented at a meeting of the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, to be held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The research also found that antibiotics can alter a child’s microbiome.

Lasting impact of antibiotics

Babies who were given antibiotics in their first year of life had lower levels of Actinobacteria at age 1 than did those who received antibiotics shortly after birth, whose mothers took antibiotics during pregnancy, and those who had no exposure to antibiotics.

In a meeting news release, Korpela’s team said that shows the lasting impact of antibiotics on a child’s microbiome.

Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Image credit: iStock








 







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