IOL - OPINION / 07 FEBRUARY 2019 - 10:25 / WALLACE MGOQI
DURBAN - Two days ago, AYO Technologies Solutions issued a statement which set out to clarify its the position on the so-called secret recording by the Sunday Times.
However, the statement was ignored and instead dishonest reporting continued, particularly in eNCA News and Business Day.
eNCA has made a number of defamatory statements on AYO’s share price, PIC investment and its broad-based empowerment scheme.
At no stage was AYO given the opportunity to respond.
AYO has put on record that it welcomes the inquiry by the PIC.
The media should allow the inquiry to proceed unhindered.
The conduct of Business Day and ENCA is that of a kangaroo court and combines to a gross defamation as well as undermining the rights that AYO has in terms of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the country.
There is gross unfairness in the reporting. It has a set agenda to defame AYO.
AYO will, of course, reserve all of its rights in this regard.
AYO is particularly shocked at the misinterpretation of its broad-based empowerment scheme.
AYO is very proud of this empowerment scheme and that it has empowered many black individuals, civil society organisations, black entrepreneurs and similar institutions as part of its empowerment scheme.
The allegations that these entities received the shares at R1.50 and the PIC at R43, and that there was something sinister about this, is at best disingenuous and mischievous racism.
AYO elected to sell the shares at R1.50, which was a nominal value and had nothing to do with the valuation of the company.
Many black economic empowerment schemes that are done by companies result in no benefit to black companies after a period of time and hence the participation of black people in the economy is substantially reduced more than two decades after the liberation.
AEEI invited trade unions from Sactwu, Popcru, Fedusa, Kopano, Cosatu and many others to participate in this broad-based empowerment scheme, where more than 10percent of the company would be held in the hands of workers of the country.
AEEI need not have done this. It could have selfishly kept the shares for itself, but instead allocated them in the spirit of meaningful transformation.
AYO & AEEI are aghast that this is now being misconstrued and confounded with the shares that were issued as part of the listing of AYO.
The listing of the AYO shares and the R5.3billion raised in commitments from various institutions, including the PIC, has no relation to the empowerment scheme at all.
AYO and AEEI are committed to real and meaningful empowerment with real benefits accruing to those that participate in the scheme.
AYO & AEEI are not in the business of superficial empowerment, which is equal to flaunting with no benefits to black individuals and workers, as has happened with so many transactions.
AYO rejects with contempt this attempt to portray its empowerment scheme other than that which it was intended for: to create an inclusive South African economy that benefits all of its people and brings to the table a broad shareholder base.
AYO represents more than 2.5million people through these investments and remains proud of it.
We call upon eNCA to apologise to the public, AYO and AEEI for misleading it about the scheme.
Ignorance and a lack of thoroughness by not reading the circular of AYO in relation to the broad-based economic scheme is no excuse for defaming the company, and for misleading the public about this empowerment scheme.
AYO is also shocked at the way in which Business Day has reported the resignation of the PIC board.
According to the letter, the PIC board resigned because four of its directors were accused by an anonymous whistle-blower, by the name of James Nogu, of having participated in a number of PIC transactions.
None had anything to do with AYO.
Despite this, Business Day and the Sunday Times’ Business Times deliberately misled the public into believing that the resignation had something to do with AYO.
This is another example of dishonesty and defamatory reporting by the journalist of Business Day and Business Times, who absolutely have no integrity and deliberately distort the situation.
They mislead the readers by withholding from them the real the reasons why the PIC board, by its own admission, resigned.
AYO once again asks for accuracy in reporting and asks Business Day to stop using agendas to undermine the business which is thriving, has a large employee-based, proud customer base and strong track record.
Advocate Wallace Mgoqi is the chairperson of AYO Technologies.
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER