'The battle is on' - EFF demands answers about new MultiChoice channel

29 August 2018 - 11:30
By Ernest Mabuza
EFF is calling for MultiChoice to disclose how Newzroom Afrika was selected as the winning bidder to broadcast a new 24-hour television channel.
Image: ISTOCK EFF is calling for MultiChoice to disclose how Newzroom Afrika was selected as the winning bidder to broadcast a new 24-hour television channel.

The EFF is demanding that MultiChoice disclose how Newzroom Afrika was selected as the winning bidder to broadcast a new 24-hour television channel in South Africa.

The party said it would write to MultiChoice to demand that all of the bid and adjudication processes be made public.

“We have it on good authority that the chosen company was not the best of those who responded to the bid‚” the party alleged in a statement on Wednesday.

The red berets said they would further demand that MultiChoice be called to Parliament to account for the selection and “many other processes including their illegal and unlawful monopoly position.”

The party said although MultiChoice was a private company with its own procurement policies and practices‚ it had called for public submissions for the news channel to replace Afro Worldview.

“We demand that they should publicly issue all the information and processes they engaged in to award the television channel to the chosen company.

“We make this demand because when they made a public call for public submissions for black-owned media broadcasters to bid for a new channel‚ we all legitimately expected that the best black-owned company will be chosen.”

The EFF also demanded that all information and ratings of the private company tasked with adjudication be made public because it had it on good authority that the chosen company was not the best of those who responded to the bid.

“There is a variety of capable black-owned media broadcasters and practitioners who were isolated‚ and the EFF demands to know the basis of their exclusion.”

In announcing the winning bidder on Tuesday‚ MultiChoice said it had decided to keep details of the selection process confidential. Explaining this decision‚ one executive said some of the people who were part of the bidding consortiums were employed by other media companies and did not want their details known.

MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela said MultiChoice decided not to take the public through every element as to who did what.

“What we took as a way of making sure that we keep this process as confidential as possible … was that we will invite the bids‚ once the bids have come in‚ the only process that we are going to undertake in terms of going to the public was the announcement‚” said Mawela.

Mawela said it would not be able to share any interactions that happened between the bidding process and the final announcement.

The EFF said it would not let up.

“The time for monopoly abuse of space and manipulation of process will come to an end‚ and all those who are involved will be exposed. The EFF never chooses battles it will never win‚ and MultiChoice should know that their suspicious and questionable process to choose a news broadcaster has called us into a battle and we will never retreat‚ nor surrender.”