State capture: Sweet deal enabled ANN7 to get huge discount on SABC archive footage

04 June 2019 - 16:00 By AMIL UMRAW
Atul Gupta at the launch of ANN7 news channel in August 2013 in Johannesburg.
Atul Gupta at the launch of ANN7 news channel in August 2013 in Johannesburg.
Image: James Oatway

Gupta television station ANN7 enjoyed a discounted rate when it purchased archive footage from the SABC before its launch in 2013.

The deal was allegedly brokered by Gupta lieutenant and former Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa and was concluded without a contract.

PODCAST: Sunday Times Politics Weekly - “The President owes us an explanation”

Subscribe: iono.fm | Spotify | Apple Podcast | Pocket Casts | Player.fm

It enabled ANN7 to purchase archive footage from the SABC without paying technical and research fees.

According to former SABC senior sales representative Josias Scott, who was testifying at the state capture inquiry on Tuesday, it was former SABC executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng who told him to expect a call from Howa regarding the sale of archive footage in 2013.

The day after his meeting with Motsoeneng, Scott said he received a call from Howa and the pair set up a meeting. He said Howa wanted a "wide range of footage" for ANN7.

According to Scott's testimony, the SABC at the time charged R100 per minute of footage, as well as a R500 per hour technical fee for the use of the station's edit suite and up to R2,000 for copyright fees for 30 seconds of footage.

For ANN7, the fee was reduced to R70 per minute, while the R500 per hour technical fee was waived. ANN7 apparently purchased about 2,000 minutes (about 33 hours) of archive footage from the SABC.

"If I had to add [the technical fee], I would have chased them [ANN7] away completely ... At that stage what goes through one's mind [is] you’ve got R145,000 immediately if you finish the 2,000 minutes - why worry about an additional R30,000?" said Scott.

He said he was never aware of a written agreement between the SABC and ANN7.

Scott's testimony followed that of former ANN7 editor Rajesh Sundaram, who told the commission he believed that ANN7 procured up to 100 hours of archive footage from the SABC "for peanuts".


X