Iqbal Survé has swept together a collection of insolvent, unprofitable media-related assets and plans to list them on the JSE on Friday, following an initial placement priced at R39.62 a share. The placement price gives the new company, called Sagarmatha, a market capitalisation of R50bn, placing it second to Naspers in the media sector and substantially ahead of Caxton.

Iqbal Survé aims to raise R7.5bn from media listing Ann Crotty 3/4/2018

  And although its plans to list have been at least temporarily scuppered, the world, Sagarmatha says, is its oyster as the unicorn readies itself to ride on the super-galactic highway and list on the New York and Hong Kong stock exchanges.

Sagarmatha and other fairy tales Mail & Guardian 13/4/2018

As I started writing this article – 16 February – the news broke that Nedbank had followed the example of ABSA and FNB and Sasol and the local branch of the global telecommunications group, BT (formerly British Telecoms) and his auditors BDO, and his lawyers, ENS and Webber Wentzel, in severing their ties with the man who attended the Brett Kebble funeral and the Gupta wedding,  for fear of financial loss and reputational harm.

If you want to understand the reasons for this then read on …

Do you remember Sagarmatha Technologies?

Here’s an intriguing thing: If you type into Google on your computer you get a drawing of a tow truck loading a clearly nonfunctioning car and this message:


This page is undergoing maintenance and will be back soon.

We all had high hopes for Sagarmatha, but the JSE did not believe Survé’s shtick and there is, as yet, no indication when the promised listing of his Supergalactic Highway, Fourth Industrial Revolution, blockchain-enabled, multi-sided digital platform and Uber-crushing,  integrated business ecosystem African Unicorn on the New York Stock Exchange will happen.

And if Sagarmatha can’t even maintain a website, do Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos and Bernard Arnault and all the other business titans have anything to worry about?

Here’s another intriguing thing:

On 11 December 2015, the IOL headline read Finland appoints Dr Survé as honorary consul.

The article is no longer on the website and in January 2020 the Finland Abroad website carried the following announcement:

We have a new Honorary Consul in Cape Town. Mr Philip Palmgren follows in the footsteps of his late father and becomes a second generation Honorary Consul to serve Finland.

Could it be that the Finnish government has joined the above-mentioned companies in seeking to distance itself from the ‘other Mandela doctor’?

To more topical matters of grave import:

In May last year the South Gauteng High Court ruled that one of Iqbal Survé’s newspapers, The Star, had defamed Maria Ramos.

Its editor is Sifiso Mahlangu and he is clearly an ambitious young man, not one to rest on his laurels.

Now, as an encore, the newspaper he edits has defamed Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, depicting him as a liar.

Mahlangu will suffer no sanction despite the claim by Yogas Nair, Independent Media’s internal ombud, that ‘accountability is sacrosanct’ at Sekunjalo Independent Media.

What he must avoid however, is offending Brian Molefe because, if he does that, he will find himself, like Wally Mbhele, looking for another job.

Because, you see, his employer holds Brian Molefe in such high esteem that he would like to see him replace André de Ruyter at the helm of Eskom which has been so relentlessly-plundered by the ANC’s deployed cadres.

Survé is quoted saying that Molefe ‘has the credentials, to rescue, not just the power utility, but the country’s economy’ and that it was “…important to do what is right.”

This despite the findings in the second Zondo report – see here and here and here and here.

What all of this shows, however, is that we South Africans, like people everywhere, are not a nation of gullible fools:

  • They wish Philip Palmgren well in his role as Honorary Consul for Finland in Cape Town;
  • They  have always regarded the Sagarmatha claims as thoroughly suspect – see here and here and here and here and here. They will, accordingly, find the denouement entirely appropriate, an absolute hoot and completely beyond parody.  From ‘Intergalactic Unicorn’ to a defective car on a tow truck – what could be more symbolically appropriate than that?

The joke is on him and his most obsequious imbongi who has called for unethical and fake news to be criminalised.

The news that yet another bank has severed its ties with him shows that the world at large increasingly shares Anton Harber’s view of Iqbal Survé – that he is a ‘charlatan and a fantasist’.

Those who recall his role in the Leisurenet crash which saw thousands of South African pensioners impoverished might well think that this could not have happened to a nicer person.


The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR

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Ed Herbst is an author and veteran journalist.