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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Govt denies Ramaphosa, Gordhan using banks to silence Survé’s Independent Media

In an article, Iqbal Survé claimed that silencing Independent Media is the ruthless aim of Gordhan and Ramaphopsa

Government has denied allegations made by the executive chairman of Independent Media Group, Iqbal Survé, that President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan have applied political pressure and are using the banks to silence the media.

In an article published on Wednesday, IOL reports that Survé claims “silencing Independent Media is the ruthless aim of Gordhan and Ramaphosa.”  

Surve also asked if South Africa could still claim to have democracy when the media is muzzled from showcasing a diversity of views or from holding those in public office to account.

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“This as Standard Bank – which has reneged on its submission to the Competition Commission where it said it was not closing the Group company bank accounts – has now expressed its intention to shut the banking facilities of the country’s largest independent media organisation,” the article read.

According to IOL, Survé said they too had now succumbed to political pressure and collusive conduct in the banking war against the Sekunjalo Group of Companies.

“The political pressure at play has nothing to do with democracy, it is a ruthless campaign that only serves a political agenda to keep Pravin Gordhan and Cyril Ramaphosa’s power narrative alive,” stated Survé in a gloves-off video interview.

In a statement, Phumla Williams, GCIS director general, says the Independent Group’s allegations are devoid of truth and seek to bring the president and the minster into disrepute.

“Furthermore, the country has a formal banking system, which is highly regulated and accountable to regulators and industry bodies. The Constitution entrenches the right to freedom of expression, including media freedom, which is an integral part of our democracy.”

“Since 1994, government has been resolute in the belief that an independent and free media are vital partners in strengthening any democracy. Government on an annual basis joins the media industry in commemorating Media Freedom Day, which resulted in legislative guarantees of press freedom and editorial independence,” Williams said.

Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele says this is not the first time that the Independent Group has cast aspersions on Cabinet ministers.

“The media has been free of state control since the advent of democracy. Government enjoys a cordial relationship with media in the country through structures, such as the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) and the Press Club.”

Gungubele says the media is an important partner and stakeholder of government and can confirm its commitment to upholding media freedom in South Africa

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