Outa guns for MultiChoice

Suspicions about how pay-TV company won encryption war

28 November 2017 - 06:19 By BusinessLIVE
Image: AFP Relaxnews ©All rights reserved

MultiChoice is under pressure to "come clean" about its contracts with Gupta-owned television news channel ANN7.

Recent Gupta leaks have revealed questionable payments by MultiChoice to ANN7 and the involvement of former communications minister Faith Muthambi.

"Hiding behind confidentiality clauses and telling half-truths is no longer an option in today's world of citizen power, when the public can exercise its purchasing strength to trigger the demise of organisations that profit from unacceptable conduct," said Wayne Duvenage, CEO of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse on Monday.

He called on MultiChoice to "come clean" and provide all the facts related to its transactions with ANN7.

"It would appear that not only did the Guptas get what they wanted in the launch of their own news channel, ANN7, which was rewarded with lucrative annual payments from MultiChoice to the tune of R140-million, but MultiChoice also appears to have benefited through transactions involving the minister of communications' cancellation of the rollout of a competitive encryption service for all TV platforms," Outa said.

MultiChoice has denied allegations of a corrupt relationship with Muthambi and said the fee structure for its ANN7 contract was "in line with the costs of developing and running such a channel, and ANN7 is definitely not the highest-paid local news channel on the DStv platform".

The DA called on MultiChoice to "publicly release the full contracts" it entered into with ANN7.

DA MP Phumzile van Damme said on Sunday that if MultiChoice "fail to do so within 48 hours, the DA will request that the Independent Communications Authority of SA force it to do so".

Oakbay Investments sold its shares in ANN7 and The New Age newspaper earlier this year to Lodidox, a company owned by former government spokesman Mzwanele "Jimmy" Manyi, in a Gupta-financed deal.