'It was the most depressing time of my career': Rajesh Sundaram's damning testimony in five quotes

04 June 2019 - 07:10 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Former ANN7 editor Rajesh Sundaram testifying at the state capture inquiry on Monday.
Former ANN7 editor Rajesh Sundaram testifying at the state capture inquiry on Monday.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

On Monday former ANN7 editor Rajesh Sundaram testified at the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture in Parktown, Johannesburg.

He spoke about his experience in SA after he was head-hunted in India to help establish the then Gupta-owned channel, and about former president Jacob Zuma's alleged involvement.

Here is Sundaram's testimony in five quotes:

Depressing time

"It was the most depressing time of my career. I had never seen such a train wreck... terrible moments of my life. This was caused by pure greed from the Guptas."

Sundaram was referring to his departure and why he decided to leave after launching the channel, just months after his arrival in SA.

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No room for an editor

“There was no position for an editor in this station. They just wanted a rubber stamp. It was more of a propaganda station that they wanted to set up."

Hijacked meetings

"Most of the times, editorial meetings were hijacked by Nazeem Howa and Moegsien Williams. They would direct that there be no coverage for a Democratic Alliance press conference... they pushed their philosophy from The New Age into ANN7. I registered my complaints regarding these behaviours."

Jacob Zuma's alleged involvement

"What I found during my experience here was that although Duduzane Zuma was a shareholder, it was Jacob Zuma who was more actively involved in the meetings that were held … Duduzane's involvement in the running of the station was minimal, there was just one meeting where he had a small appearance."

At the time Duduzane Zuma was a shareholder at Infinity Media, which owned ANN7.

It was a game

"It was a game that I thought they were playing with the president and giving him an impression his views were taken seriously. When, in fact, the Guptas would do whatever they wanted and throw Zuma's plans in the dustbin."

According to Sundaram, then-president Jacob Zuma was being played by the Guptas, who made him feel as if they would implement his suggestions.