When Iqbal Surve wanted to buy Independent Newspapers, I was against the likes of Anton Harber who were worried and also skeptical of this ownership, especially that Survé had a perceived political connection to the ruling ANC.
The criticism – not only from Harber but from a wide ranger of people, including from the media, but I remember Harber’s very clearly because he wrote in his blog and in the Business Day several times about this matter (see Anton Harber on Independent Newspapers) – seemed, in my view, like it was a sin for a black person to want to own a media house, and that only whites with big rubbish bags full of lonely could own media houses (Times Media Group, etc). At least that’s what I could make out of their criticism – rightly or wrongly.
The perceived secrecy of the deal, too, appeared to justify and fuel into their criticism because they were convinced that he wanted to use it as a vehicle for political gains, particularly following his comments in the Sunday Independent at the time prior to the deal being okayed in Ireland.
Writing in the same newspaper today, Harber repeats this, saying Survé has Rupert Murdoch’s “ability to say one thing and do an entirely different thing”. He does not invest in transform the Independent group into a true South African voice as he promised when the deal went through but instead uses it to “get rid of his most progressive — and some of his most able — editors and writers”, writes Harber of Survé following The Star newspaper’s editor’s departure, Makhudu Sefara, also deputy chairman of South African National Editors Forum.
While I admit a lot has changed in the Independent Newspaper since Survé took over, but what truth is there to his Murdoch tendencies as preached by Harber et al?