MultiChoice ‘Could Join The Ranks Of KPMG And Bell Pottinger’ Over Gupta Deal

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Article by Amil Umraw
First published in HuffingtonPost South Africa, 27/11/2017

Civil society groups are demanding that pay-TV giant MultiChoice come clean on its contractual dealings with Gupta-linked channel, ANN7, amid claims of a corrupt relationship with former communications minister Faith Muthambi.

Questions are being raised over the Naspers-owned company’s links to the controversial business family following further leaked Gupta emails.

Last week, News24 reported that MultiChoice allegedly made a once-off payment of R25 million to ANN7 — which the Guptas sold in August to Mzwanele Manyi — and increased its annual payment to the broadcaster from R50 million to R141 million.

News24 reported that the payments came after the Guptas seemingly assisted Muthambi in getting President Jacob Zuma to transfer certain broadcasting powers to her — after which she pushed through a decision in favour of unencrypted set-top boxes, which benefited MultiChoice.
MultiChoice has since denied the allegations.

Media Monitoring Africa director William Bird said although professional lobbying is common around the world, MultiChoice should have been wary of the current political climate around state capture.

“If you look back to 2014, when state capture first became an emerging reality, there were various attempts to control or shift the discourse around communications. The Guptas employed Bell Pottinger, there was a deliberate attempt in the SABC to shift control to [Hlaudi Motsoeneng] and there were also issues around digital terrestrial television (DTT),” Bird said.

“[Muthambi] was doing her own thing. [Zuma] split the communications portfolio in two… It was the perfect opportunity for MultiChoice to step in with their lobbying. Professional lobbying is common around the world so we cannot think it was only MultiChoice doing it.”

Bird said the company should have been more mindful of the Guptas and their links to state capture.

 

Original article here

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