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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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Riot police squads intervene as pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters clash in Montreal

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People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.


People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.

  • Violence
    between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters in Montreal was condemned by
    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
  • Montreal’s
    city police force intervened and declared the protests illegal after tensions
    heightened and clashes broke out.
  • Israeli
    strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
    toll in almost a week of clashes.

Montreal
– Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday condemned the violence and
“despicable rhetoric” that marked several weekend protests throughout
the country, after clashes between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters in
Montreal.

The
worst violence in years, sparked by unrest in Jerusalem, is raging between the
Jewish state and Islamist militants.

Israeli
strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
toll in almost a week of deadly clashes.

Speaking
after protests in Montreal, Trudeau condemned what he said was “despicable
rhetoric and violence we saw on display in some protests this weekend”.

While
insisting on the “right to assemble peacefully and express themselves
freely in Canada”, Trudeau stressed in a tweet that there was no tolerance
for “antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind”.

Earlier
on Sunday, Montreal police used tear gas following clashes between pro-Israel
and pro-Palestinian protesters.

Several
hundred demonstrators, draped in Israeli flags, had gathered in a central
Montreal square to express solidarity with the Jewish state.

‘Protesting is a right’

Although
the protest started peacefully, tensions ratcheted up with the arrival of
pro-Palestinian demonstrators and clashes soon broke out.

The
SPVM, Montreal’s city police force, declared the protests illegal, and squads
of riot police intervened, using tear gas to separate and disperse the two
groups, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

The
police spent much of the afternoon in pursuit of the pro-Palestinian
protesters, who spread out and regrouped in commercial streets in the city centre.

Following
the clashes, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said on Twitter that
“protesting is a right”, but that “intolerance, violence and
anti-Semitism have no place here”.

She said:

Montreal is a city of peace.

Several
thousand pro-Palestinian demonstrators had gathered on Saturday in central
Montreal to denounce what they said were Israeli repression and “war
crimes” in Gaza.

“Terrorist
Israel”, some protesters chanted, while others held up a banner that read,
“Stop the genocide of Palestinian children”.

Pro-Palestinian
protests happened the same day in multiple Canadian cities, including Toronto,
Ottawa and Vancouver.


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Peter Thiel Helps Fund an App That Tells You What to Do

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“How would you feel about being able to pay to control multiple aspects of another person’s life?” asks the BBC.

“A new app is offering you the chance to do just that.”

When writer Brandon Wong recently couldn’t decide what takeaway to order one evening, he asked his followers on social media app NewNew to choose for him. Those that wanted to get involved in the 24-year-old’s dinner dilemma paid $5 (£3.50) to vote in a poll, and the majority verdict was that he should go for Korean food, so that was what he bought…

NewNew is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Courtne Smith. The app, which is still in its “beta” or pre-full release stage, describes itself as “a human stock market where you buy shares in the lives of real people, in order to control their decisions and watch the outcome”. For many of us that sounds a bit ominous, but the reality is actually far less alarming. It is aimed at what it calls “creators” — writers, painters, musicians, fashion designers, bloggers etc. It is designed as a way for them to connect far more closely with their fans or followers than on other social media services and, importantly, monetise that connection…

Whenever a vote is cast the creator gets the money minus NewNew’s undisclosed commission… In addition to voting, followers can also pay extra — from $20 — to ask a NewNew creator to do something of their choosing, such as naming a character in a book after them. But the creator can reject all of these “bids”, and if they do so then the follower doesn’t have to part with the money…

Co-founder and chief executive Ms Smith, a 33-year-old Canadian, has big plans for NewNew, and has some heavyweight backers. Investors include Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, and the first outside person to put money into Facebook. Others with a stake in the business include leading US tech investment fund Andreessen Horowitz, and Hollywood actor Will Smith (no relation to Courtne). Snapchat has also given technical support.

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Sandpapergate will haunt Australia cricket forever: ex-bowling coach

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Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach - Gallo Images/Getty Images)


Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach – Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The 2018 ball-tampering scandal will haunt Australian cricket forever, much like the infamous underarm delivery of 40 years ago, the team’s former bowling coach David Saker said on Monday.

Saker was responding to opening batsman Cameron Bancroft suggesting that Australia’s bowlers knew about the plan in Cape Town to alter the ball which earned him a nine-month ban and rocked the game.

Saker was Australia’s bowling coach when Bancroft was caught trying to rough up the ball with sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa.

While refusing to be drawn on who knew what, Saker said “the finger-pointing is going to go on and on and on”.

“It’s like the underarm, it’s never going to go away,” he told Fairfax Media, referring to a 1981 incident when Trevor Chappell bowled underarm to ensure New Zealand lost a one-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The notorious delivery is still cited in New Zealand and in cricketing circles as a prime example of unsporting conduct.

However, the ball-tampering scandal – dubbed “sandpapergate” – had a greater impact on Australian cricket, with the then-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner suspended for a year from all cricket and stripped of their leadership roles.

Darren Lehmann also quit as coach and all the top brass from Cricket Australia left after a scathing review blasted their “arrogant and controlling” win-at-all-costs culture.

No one else among the team or coaching staff was held to account but Bancroft’s remarks in an interview with The Guardian newspaper hinted that the team’s bowlers at least knew about the plan.

“Obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” he said.

Saker added: “There was a lot of people to blame. It could have been me to blame, it could have been someone else. It could have been stopped and it wasn’t, which is unfortunate.

“Cameron’s a very nice guy. He’s just doing it to get something off his chest … He’s not going to be the last.”

In response, Cricket Australia said that if anyone had new information, they would look into it.

Saker said he was not opposed to a fresh investigation but added “I just don’t know what they’re going to find out.”

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Mexico’s Andrea Meza crowned Miss Universe

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Miss Universe Andrea Meza


Miss Universe Andrea Meza

UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021 IS ANDREA MEZA FROM MEXICO:


UPDATE:

THE MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021 TOP 5:

1. Mexico

2. India

3. Brazil

4. Dominican Republic

5. Peru


UPDATE:

HERE ARE THE MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021 TOP 10 CONTESTANTS:

1. Jamaica 

2. Dominican Republic 

3. India

4. Peru 

5. Australia 

6. Puerto Rico

7. Thailand

8. Costa Rica

9. Mexico

10. Brazil


UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE TOP 21 IN SWIMWEAR:


UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE TOP 21: 

1. Columbia

2. Peru 

3. Australia 

4. France

5. Myanmar

6. Jamaica 

7. Mexico 

8. Dominican Republic 

9. USA

10. Indonesia 

11. Argentina 

12. India

13. Curaçao

14. Puerto Rico

15. Phillipines 

16. Brazil

17. Great Britain

18. Nicaragua

19. Thailand 

20. Costa Rica

21. Vietnam


 UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE SOUTH AFRICA NATASHA JOUBERT WALKS THE STAGE AT MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021:


74 contestants will compete for the title of Miss Universe on 16 May in Hollywood, Florida. 

The Miss Universe pageant takes place on 16 May in the US (02:00 to 05:00 on 17 May SA time). The show will be broadcast live on 1 Magic (DStv Channel 103) with a repeat at 21:30. 

Reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa will crown her successor at the end of the event.

Representing South Africa is Natasha Joubert, and South Africans are hoping for the “magic double” – back-to-back consecutive wins, which has only happened once before in the pageant’s history.

Natasha wowed crowds at the national costume competition last week and on Friday impressed during the preliminary round

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Miss Mexico crowned Miss Universe 2021

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By AFP Time of article published 16m ago

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Washington – Miss Mexico was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday in Florida, after fellow contestant Miss Myanmar used her stage time to draw attention to the bloody military coup in her country.

Sunday night marked the Miss Universe competition’s return to television, after the pageant was cancelled in 2020 for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrea Meza, 26, finished first ahead of the Brazilian and Peruvian finalists in a flashy televised event, hosted by American actor Mario Lopez and television personality Olivia Culpo.

Former Miss Universe contestants Cheslie Kryst, Paulina Vega and Demi-Leigh Tebow (who won the title in 2017) served as competition analysts and commentators, and a panel of eight women determined the winner.

Dressed in a sparkling red evening gown, Meza tearfully walked the catwalk as Miss Universe for the first time, before rushing back for a group hug with the other competitors.

Meza beat more than 70 contestants from around the globe in the 69th installment of Miss Universe, which was held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

In the days leading up to the final competition, Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin, who made the top 21, made waves when she used her time in the spotlight to bring attention to the coup in her country.

“Our people are dying and being shot by the military every day,” she said during her biographical video, which showed photos of her taking part in the anti-coup protests. “Therefore I would like to urge everyone to speak out about Myanmar.”

Natasha Joubert, Miss Universe South Africa 2020 competes on stage in Ema Savahl swimwear during the MISS UNIVERSE® Preliminary Competition.

She also won the award for best national costume: during that competition segment on Thursday, she wore an outfit beaded in traditional Burmese patterns and held up a sign that said, “Pray for Myanmar.”

Myanmar has been in uproar since February 1, when the army ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

At least 796 people have been killed by security forces since then, according to a local monitoring group, while nearly 4 000 people are behind bars.

Miss Singapore Bernadette Belle Ong – who did not make the top 21 – also used the national costume portion to make a political statement.

Dressed in a glittering red bodysuit and matching thigh-high boots, she turned around to reveal her cape – in the colours of the Singaporean flag – was painted with the words “Stop Asian Hate.”

“What is this platform for if I can’t use it to send a strong message of resistance against prejudice and violence?” she wrote on Instagram alongside pictures of her outfit.

The United States in particular has seen a surge in anti-Asian violence in the past year, which activists have blamed on former president Donald Trump’s rhetoric, especially his repeated description of Covid-19 as the “China virus.”

The pageant has also drawn criticism in the past for objectifying the contestants.

In recent years, the competition has shifted image, focusing more on female empowerment and activism.

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