Solomon Star broke the story last year of the quartz mining in Riemvasmaak that will commence after the completion of a feasibility study. The project is supported by the local community who is also set to benefit from the 99.9% pure quartz deposit that was discovered in the rural Kalahari area. Dr Dennis George, General Secretary of the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA), one of the investors in the project has been implicated in the Daily Maverick by Sam Sole of amaBhungane as a recipient of a Public Investment Corporation (PIC) investment in AYO Technology Solutions. George’s Difeme Holdings and Ho Oa Tago Mining Primary & Beneficiation Co-operative, which represents the community, are partners in the project with Mintek providing technical support.
George indicated to Solomon Star that he is disgusted by the lies and disinformation published in the Daily Maverick by Sole and repeated by other publications and on digital platforms. “At no stage did I receive any personal benefit from shares in AYO Technology Solutions (AYO), nor did I receive any dividends from AYO. This can be confirmed with AYO as well as via my personal bank accounts. If R900 000 was paid into my bank account as alleged, I would be the first to know. These are complete lies and disinformation” an agitated George stated.
Independent Media chairman Dr Iqbal Survé was apparently the main beneficiary of the PIC investment according to Sam Sole. AYO technology solutions became one the biggest Black Owned companies in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector when it listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in December 2017 with a market cap of R14, 7 bn. Sole has alleged that the PIC invested R 4,3bn in Survé’s Ayo Technology Solutions at a price tag of R43 per share while according to Sole, the value by net asset value was only 15c per share.
Dr Survé and Independent Media have hit back indicating that they have been under relentless attack by particularly amaBhungane and Tiso Blackstar Group, the owners of Sunday Times and Business Day. An Independent Media article pointed at that Tiso Blackstar is heavily indebted and has furthermore publicly challenged Sam Sole to state his involvement in apartheid journalism as a young reporter. Independent media is also alleging that Sam Sole is being paid to write positive stories about certain companies.
Sole has denied the allegations levelled against him by Survé in an SAFM interview. He indicated that his only involvement with the apartheid security services was when he was conscripted in the SADF between 1984 and 1986. Sole said during the interview that he wrote an article anonymously under the End Conscription Campaign about troops in the township during the 2 years he served in the military. Sole is sticking to his guns and indicated that they will not be retracting any article related to the AYO matter.
AmaBhungane is known for its release of the infamous Gupta emails (Gupta leaks) that provided the first real connection between politicians, high profile public servants and the Gupta family, that would open up the flood gates of allegations and counter allegations of state capture. It is ironic that amaBhungane’s subjects of investigations are now also focuses of commissions of enquiry, i.e. The Judicial Commission Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture and The Commission of inquiry into allegations of impropriety regarding Public Investment Corporation (PIC).