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Iqbal Surv's controversial donation causes rifts in Western Cape ANC

20/05/2019

Businessman and Independent Media executive chairperson Dr Iqbal Surv made headlines when he donated R1m to the ANC Western Cape, just three days before the elections.

The provincial branch of the ANC released a statement at the time, declaring their intention to return the donation. They felt that it was the right thing to do, despite the fact that [they] need all help at this stage.

Due to the fact that this has happened a mere three days before the election, we had no time to do such an assessment or to consider how such a donation would be perceived given the revelations made at the Commission of Inquiry into allegations of impropriety regarding the Public Investment Corporation.

Surv was involved in an ongoing corruption investigation. He stated at the time that his donation was transparent and fair, that he wanted nothing in return, and merely made the donation to support progressive forces.

Surv said he simply wanted to assist the ANC in winning back the Western Cape from the DA. However, the party ordered that the money donated by Iqbal Surv via Sekunjalo Investments be returned.

In addition to the doubts about his integrity, his stake in Independent Media would also have brought the impartiality of media coverage during the election into question.

Provincial ANC secretary Faiez Jacobs stated on Friday, 17 May, that Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) ruled to return the donation and to lift the suspension of treasurer Maurencia Gillion.

At this point, the story gets a bit strange as Maurencia Gillion decided seemingly of her own accord to distribute the donation to regions rather than returning it as was agreed.

This resulted in the Provincial Working Committee suspending her. ANC Western Cape secretary Faiez Jacobs said:

This suspension was slapped on her by the provincial working committee. However, the meeting last night resolved to lift the suspension and that she returns to her position.

In an abrupt change of heart, the Provincial Executive has now decided to lift Gillion's suspension and reinstate her to her position of treasurer, effectively overruling the Provincial Working Committee's decision.

Jacobs also confirmed that the donation would be returned as previously decided. However, it's unclear how it would be recovered from the regions it was allocated to.

We don't know what happened behind the scenes, but once again the ANC waded into the ethically murky water.

While it's debatable why Gillion decided not to return the money, and why the province decided to accept the donation in the first place for that matter, it seems that the ANC provincial executive is not interested in finding out.

Whether this is political posturing between factions in the Western Cape or yet another possible case of financial impropriety being swept under the rug, this doesn't bode well for the ANC's promises of cleaning up their act.

Tags: African National Congress (ANC)PICWestern Cape
LINK: https://www.thesouthafrican.com/news/iqbal-surve-controversial-donatio...
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