JOHANNESBURG - On Friday, news websites reported on a signed agreement in the #GuptaLeaks e-mails which detailed a questionable payment of R25-million being made to the ANN7 channel.
MultiChoice has since denied making any dubious multi-million-rand payments to the controversial Gupta-owned news channel. The said deal came on the heels of former minister of communications, Faith Muthambi pushing through a policy favouring MultiChoice.
The policy relates to set-top-box decoders. Muthambi’s decision went against her own party’s policy on the issue. But following a lengthy court battle, the Constitutional Court earlier this year ruled that it was within Muthambi’s right to make policy decisions affecting the broadcasting sector.
MultiChoice has denied claims of corruption between itself and Muthambi.
Multichoice responded to the allegations with a statement saying that they noted the report.
“While we understand that some people may not be aware of it, it is standard practice to pay for mainstream news channels — particularly for local 24-hour news channels. The fee structure for the ANN7 contract is 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, ” read the statement.
Other reports suggest that current Communications Minister, Mamaloko Kubayi-Ngubane called for a "proper investigation" into the matter. “Surely we’d not fold out arms and say 'no, this thing should not have happened', but it must be investigated so that there’s clarity on that.
However in a telephonic interview with a broadcaster on Monday, Kubayi seemingly made a u turn on her earlier call for an investigation into possible "corruption activities."
"As far as government is concerned, this is a contract between two parties and if there is anything that they need to review, it will have to be within the confines of the two parties."
"What would concern us is if there is something around policy that has been violated. As far as this one is concerned, from our point of view, as the Department of Communications, we don't think that it's something we need to get into the fray for," Kubayi said.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE