As the Zondo commission of enquiry gears up to investigate the wholesale and industrial state capture and looting by the Zupta Shadow State cartel that left South Africa in ruins and drenched in blood , another state capturer in the same mould as the Guptas from India has just landed in the spotlight .
Before we get to him, let us just look at what the state capture phenomenon is all about . We as South Africans must not for one second think that we have seen the last of state capture now that the Guptas have fled .
The process of state capture involves politically connected businessmen influencing State institutions like the PIC - Public Investment Commissioner - to finance them or give them huge tenders .
It is also known as crony capitalism or just plain criminality done by shady characters in suits preying on ordinary people . It is the use of other people's money to enrich yourself .
There is always a quid pro quo involved - a kickback or payoff to the political masters .
The politically connected Iqbal Surve fits the description of a state capturer like a hand fits into a glove .
The Independent Media group landed in Surve's lap a couple of years ago when the PIC , the institution managing the pension money of civil servants , using other people's money , borrowed Surve around a R billion rand in order to aquire the Independent Media group, the former Argus Newspaper group with titles such as the Cape Times, the Cape Argus and The Star .
The Independent group was constantly in the news after Surve took over , not for exellent news reporting but for all the wrong reasons - plunging circulations, staff retrenchments of mainly white personnel, resignations and allegations of asset-stripping . The group also became embroiled in the ANC successor race when the editor of the Sunday Independent , Steven Motale , published a big cover story about Cyril Ramaphosa's extramarital love affairs .
The group has never been profitable under Surve and is sitting with R2, 3 billion in debt .
Large chunks of that debt have to be repaid by August this year .
So what to do when you owe a lot of money and your group is not producing a profit ?
If you are Iqbal Surve , you try and baffle the country's brains by feeding them bullsh** .
Surve now wants to list another structure which he grandiosely calls Sagarmatha Technologies on the JSE .
In reality the whole exercise involves some very creative accounting , cooking of the books, re-arranging of the deckstairs and a sales pitch that will make any snake oil salesman blush with the audacity of it all .
The whole purpose of the exercise is to pull off a fast one , using other people's money to pay off the debt incurred last time they used other people's money to aquire Independent !
Let me explain .
Surve has been using his own newspapers to hype Sagarmatha as the next " African unicorn " . African unicorn is American terminology where a technology start-up valued at more than a billion dollars is termed a unicorn .
Sagarmatha is now billed as the next Amazon, Alibaba or Tencent . This is of course nowhere near the truth but it does serve as cover to pull off a very crooked scheme which can be compared to a real ponzi scheme .
The plan is for Sagarmatha to list on the JSE but because the underlying assets are unprofitable there has to be a private placing of R3 billion from institutional investors .
This provides the cover to use other people's money again through the PIC .
In effect Surve is just a bad and cheap rip-off artist trying to con his way into receiving more money - other people's money - to repay old debt. Classic Ponzi scheme stuff .
And it is done in broad daylight !
I am of the opinion that civil servants need to wake up and take note . The " other people's money " I am talking about is YOUR money, meant to provide for your pensions . Why are your unons lax and not intervening on your behalf ?
Daily Maverick : " amaBhungane Analysis: Iqbal Survé's mythical beast " 7 April , 2018